Dozens of “pilot dolphins” are stranded in a sandy area on a farewell spit off a coast of northern New Zealand.
New Zealand authorities mobilized Monday to try to rescue dozens of “pilot dolphins” stranded on a beach north of the South Island, which is often frequented by groups of pilot whales. The Department of Defense (DOC) said 49 mammals were found Monday morning in a sand-tongue farewell spit 90 kilometers north of Nelson.
By Monday afternoon, at least nine pilot whales had died and about 60 others were working to keep others alive, hoping they could return to sea with the waves, the DOC said. “Experts from marine mammals will be involved in the restoration work on the beach and their maintenance, trying to keep them in a state of freshness and humidity,” a DOC spokesman said.
F We are responding to 49 long-haul pilot whales trapped in the farewell spit. The high tide is at 6 p.m., and is intended to float whales once the water is deep enough.
At the moment, we are not looking for other volunteers to help because we have enough people. pic.twitter.com/0bDCxeZvbY
– Department of Defense (ocdocgovtnz) February 22, 2021
Disease, navigation errors, weather?
Farewell Spit is a 26-kilometer-long sand cluster entering the Golden Bay. This is a display of a dozen cases of pilot whale strands over the past 15 years.. As of February 2017, nearly 700 of these mammals were trapped in the farewell spit, of which 250 have become extinct. There is no specific scientific explanation for this phenomenon.
Hypotheses point to problems related to disease, navigation errors, the presence of predators, extreme weather, or the terrain of some places. But others refer to human activity, especially disturbances caused by high-frequency sonar.
Any breeding is prohibited