Whales beach in Southland
Nine whales are understood to have died when they were beached on the Southland coast near Tuatapere tonight.
Local resident Tracy Thomas said she went to take photos of the beached whales, which she believed were Orca whales, after a neighbour called her to say he had spotted them.
The whales beached at Trackburn, west from Bluecliffs Beach near Tuatapere, Thomas said.
"There were nine of them and they were all dead, which is quite sad," she said.
She believed they were Orcas because of their black and white colour.
Thomas took her camera with her to photograph the whales about 7.30pm.
"I was very lucky because while I was there a helicopter was taking one away," she said.
"It seemed to be the smallest one."
It was uncommon to see Orca in the waters near Tuatapere, she said.
"I photographed them a couple of years ago."
"The last time a whale beached here was when my husband was a child," she said.
A Department of Conservation spokeswoman said they were aware of the incident, but no further information would be available until tomorrow.
The Southland Times