More Than 30 Dead Whales Found Washed-Up And Left To Decompose at a death trap beach in New Zealand


    More than 30 pilot whales were found dead at a death trap beach in New Zealand have been blessed by local people and left to decompose. 

    On Thursday, a pod of 36 whales was found washed-up approximately two miles down the Farewell Spit beach in Golden Bay, north of New Zealand’s South Island, said the country’s Department of conservation on Facebook. The beach is a notorious area for marine wildlife strandings. 

    Rangers from the department hurried to bring together volunteers and workers from marine mammal protection charity Project Jonah New Zealand to assess the dead whales and attempt to release any survivors back into the body of water.

    At least 31 whales in total died in the stranding, Project Jonah said on Facebook. Rescuers tried to re-float five whales that were still alive, but on Friday, two more whales were found dead. Project Jonah said on Facebook they were likely the same ones rangers had tried to refloat. 

    Project Jonah stated that it was “a very sad outcome after a huge day.”

    Local news outlet Stuff reported on Monday that the dead whales have been secured on a cut-off area of the beach to decompose naturally.

    The carcasses were also blessed by members of Manawhenua ki Mohua, an organization representing indigenous Maori people in the golden Bay that is mandated to receive fisheries assets in the area.

    Mass Strandings are a regular occurrence at the remote beach. In 2017, 400 pilot whales were stranded on the beach, making it the largest stranding in New Zealand for 100 years. Over 10 pilot whale stranding have occurred there in the last 15 years, according to AFP. 

    “As heartbreaking as it is, whale strandings are a natural phenomenon,” the Department of Conservation said in a Facebook post. 

    Scientists are still unable to determine exactly what causes mass strandings, but some wildlife officials believe whales strand at Farewell Spit beach because it creates a shallow seabed with large sand flats, causing whales who venture into the area to become confused and disoriented. 


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