Reports from New Zealand state that around 34 pilot whales have died around the South Island coast’s Farewell Spit area. 17 managed to free themselves while rescuers refloated 40 animals back into the sea.
Volunteers coordinated by Project Jonah marine mammal medics had been working tirelessly to save those whales that had come ashore but many were already dead or dying.25 pilot whales stranded in the same area earlier in January and 65 died there in November 2011.
Pilot whales are amongst those whale species known to regularly mass live strand around the world. The principle reason for this is that they live in very tight social groups. This works very well in deep waters where they act as a group in all their activities, including defending themselves. But in shallow waters this can get them into trouble and, as they try to help each other, they may all come ashore.
Find out more information on why strandings happen.