A group of 28 pilot whales have successfully resurfaced this week on the infamous New Zealand beach, where more than 12 marine mammals have died, a delighted rescue team said Wednesday.
According to Project Jona, an animal rescue charity, the pilot whale, previously stuck again, seems to have finally jumped into the ocean.
“The living whale hasn’t been stuck overnight, so it seems to be successful now,” said Darren Glover, general manager of the charity. “Carefully optimistic.” “.
The whale was part of about 50 pods found on Monday at the Fairwell Spit, about 90 km (55 miles) north of the tourist city of Nelson on the South Island.
About 40 whales were pushed into the sea on Monday night, but by the next morning they had swam back to the shore and about 60 volunteers had 28 survivors back in the water.
“The beach has been checked all along the Fairwell Spit and there are no signs of a living whale … so far it’s very good,” Glover said.
He said dead whales would be moved to beach areas not used by the general public, where the bodies would be blessed by the local Maori Iwi (tribe).
The Fairwell Spit, a 26-kilometer sand hook that juts out into the ocean, is a scene where at least 10 pilot whales have stranded in the last 15 years.
The latest was in February 2017, when nearly 700 mammals were launched on the beach, killing 250 people.
Scientists aren’t sure why beaches are so deadly. One theory is that spit creates a shallow seabed in the bay and interferes with the whale’s sonar navigation system.
Pilot whales, the most common whale species in New Zealand waters, are particularly vulnerable to mass grounding.
Whales that grow up to 6 meters (20 feet) in length are regularly found on numerous beaches.
They were involved in New Zealand’s largest mass grounding recorded on Chatham Island when 1,000 pods landed in 1918.
A remote island about 800 kilometers (500 miles) east of the South Island was the scene of another incident that killed nearly 100 whales last November.
It is believed that highly sociable animals can chase terrestrial disease leaders, panic predators, and be stressed by extreme weather events.
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