Around 200 pilot whales have stranded on a stretch of coastline in New Zealand that has become renowned as a trap for these creatures.
It is now thought that at least 140 of the whales have now died on the beach at Farewell Spit and rescue attempts continue in an attempt to refloat and save others according to New Zealand’s Department of Conservation.
New Zealand has one of the highest number of stranding incidents with pilot whales often involved. They 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.