New fears of another whale stranding at Farewell Spit video

17 more whales have washed up this morning less than a kilometre away from where 400 stranded themselves on Friday.
IAIN MCGREGOR/FAIRFAX NZ

17 more whales have washed up this morning less than a kilometre away from where 400 stranded themselves on Friday.

A pod of 200 pilot whales is milling around Taupata Point near Farewell Spit, sparking fresh fears of another whale stranding.

Department of Conservation (DOC) spokeswoman Trish Grant said it was believed the whales were the same ones who had been refloated over the weekend, after a mass stranding on Friday.

She said about 10 DOC staff were out in boats and at the beach, ready to try and deter the whales if they began swimming towards the shore.

Volunteers have placed wet sheets on the whales to keep them cool.
Martin De Ruyter

Volunteers have placed wet sheets on the whales to keep them cool.

Several hundred dead pilot whales will be moved to a closed area of the Farewell Spit nature reserve, and left to decompose in the dunes.

READ MORE:
Whale 'explosion threat' after successful day of rescues
Video: Devastating vision from Farewell Spit
Photos: Whales as far as the eye can see
Why is saving the whales so important to New Zealanders?

DOC originally planned to secure the more than 250 dead whales where they stranded on a beach accessible to the public. The carcasses were to be moved together and fenced off.

A heartbreaking scene: the water was cold but it didn't stop volunteers dedicated to trying to save the pilot whales.
MARTIN DE RUYTER

A heartbreaking scene: the water was cold but it didn't stop volunteers dedicated to trying to save the pilot whales.

But in a revised plan released at lunchtime on Monday, the department said it had reconsidered its plans and would move the whales with a digger further up Farewell Spit to the area of the nature reserve that was not open to the public.

The whales would be moved off the shore and into the dunes.

"It has been decided it is more suitable to take the dead whales out of the area that is open for public walking access," a DOC spokeswoman said.

Volunteers form a human chain to stop the fresh pod of 200 whales from stranding.
NINA HINDMARSH/FAIRFAX NZ

Volunteers form a human chain to stop the fresh pod of 200 whales from stranding.

The three separate pods that beached over three nights since last Friday have left carnage along Farewell Spit and a huge clean up for Department of Conservation workers.

Ad Feedback

DOC said on Monday morning the pilot whales that were in the area on Sunday were last seen late yesterday about six kilometres offshore swimming towards Separation Point at the northern end of Abel Tasman National Park. It is hoped they have made their way out to open sea.

DOC rangers searched the coastline on the western side of Golden Bay on Monday morning to as far along the inner side of Farewell Spit as it was possible to go, and no stranded live whales were seen.

A pod of about 416 whales stranded on the beach, a remote spit in Golden Bay, on Friday morning.
IAIN MCGREGOR/FAIRFAX NZ

A pod of about 416 whales stranded on the beach, a remote spit in Golden Bay, on Friday morning.

It was not possible to use a plane or boat to look for whales this morning due to adverse weather conditions, including strong offshore winds and low cloud causing poor visibility.

The beach covered in more than 250 rotting whale carcasses has been closed off, as they could "explode" on volunteers.

Department of Conservation ranger Mike Ogle said when the dead whales got too warm they were "just nasty".

"These things explode from the stomach and if you're standing right there it's not very nice getting a 'gut bomb' on your face," he said.

"I've been too close to that a few times myself and it's really unpleasant; you just get sick."

On Monday, they would start making arrangements about how best to dispose of the rotting carcasses, Ogle said.

"We've never had to deal with 250 carcasses before, and most of them weigh over a tonne," he said. "It's an awful lot of whales to get rid of."

Last Thursday night's stranding of the pod of 416 whales was thought to be the third largest stranding of whales recorded in the country's history.

About 300 – close to 75 per cent – had died by the time Department of Conservation staff arrived on Friday morning.

Staff from DOC, Project Jonah and volunteers attempted to re-float the survivors at high tide, about 10.30am, but were only partially successful.

An estimated 50 whales returned to the sea. However, the remaining 80 to 90 survivors re-stranded in shallow water.

The mission for desperate volunteers then changed to keeping them alive as the tide receded and the whales were exposed in puddles, or on the sand.

About 500 volunteers used sheets to cover the whales' thick skin and buckets to continuously pour water over them to keep them cool.

At high tide on Saturday, volunteers scrambled into the water to push 200 fresh whales from a new super pod swimming into shore by forming a human chain in the waves.

Their efforts were successful, but volunteers were forced to leave 50 surviving alone overnight on Saturday.  

DOC then euthanised 20 of the surviving whales with a rifle, whales which were too ill to be rescued or stay alive.

It had been hoped the survivors would re-float naturally and swim back to sea at high tide that night.

Many surviving whales refloated naturally on Saturday night, but eighteen were found on Sunday morning in Puponga, less than a kilometre from where the 416 stranded themselves on Friday.

All but two were successfully refloated at high tide on Sunday where they rejoined the larger pod of 200 swimming in the bay.

Hundreds of volunteers and DoC staff spent the day hanging around at Triangle Flat at the base of Farewell spit, where Ogle said they spent spent the day watching the horizon "full of whales".

"There were about 200 whales in numerous pods just swimming around at risk of stranding," he said.  

"We were really concerned they might come and investigate the stranded ones, but they didn't which is great news."

Project Jonah general manager Daren Grover said the team was on hold at the stranding site.

"We will be checking the beach in the next few days and listening out for reports. If these whales do re-strand then we will be starting again."

Grover said the wider community response was amazing.

Volunteer Imogen Harris, 11, said on Sunday they had just been waiting anxiously all day to see of the whales re-stranded.

"Yesterday (Saturday) it was really full on, we were doing so much getting the whales out and forming our [human] chain, but today it's just been a really long day waiting and hoping."

 

 - Stuff

Comments

Ad Feedback
special offers
Auckland

Bottlenecks to avoid - if you can

An all too familiar sight for Aucklanders hoping to get away from it all.

There are 21 misery-inducing traffic pinch-points to watch out for this Labour Weekend.

Shopper nets $1m Lotto prize

Powerball wasn't struck, pushing the jackpot out to $16 million.

Auckland supermarket-goer wins $1 million as Powerball rolls over to $16m.

Start not confirmed

Murray Baker is adamant there is nothing wrong with Bonneval ahead of Saturday's Caulfield Cup.

Leading Kiwi chance in Caulfield Cup faces big test before she even gets to the barriers.

Smoking ban 'unfair targeting'

Places with outdoor footpath dining such as Ponsonby's SPQR restaurant would have to make sure their outdoor dining area ...

Around 800 Auckland restaurants with public al fresco areas expect to see a drop in business.

Wellington

Welcome to Dannevirke ... or is it?

What's that bit: Random slices of your region

(Weekend) Today's piece of the photo puzzle is of artistic and archaic ...

Featherston isn't the only town without an official name. Turns out most of NZ is incognito.

Uni hall a 'feral zoo'

Images of alleged drunken destruction at the Victoria University Te Puni Village over the weekend have emerged.

Alleged drinking binge sees vomit and rubbish strewn across Wellington student hall.

Alcohol 'safe zone' in party central

The alcohol "safe zone" would have water, charging stations, bean bags and friendly assistance for Wellington party-goers.

Wellington party-goers who've had too much to drink will soon have a new refuge.

Snapped: 103kmh in a 50kmh zone

Porirua's busiest speed camera, on Whitford Brown Ave, caught a vehicle travelling at more than twice the posted speed limit.

Porirua's busiest speed camera catches one driver with a particularity heavy foot.

Canterbury

McCaw flies for kākāriki

Richie McCaw is backing conservation efforts for orange-fronted parakeet, also known as the kākāriki.

The former All Black captain was behind the controls of a freshly-painted helicopter used to raise awareness for a critically-threatened bird.

'Auntie Dai' paid out

Dai Bing was working as the manager of the Auntie Dai's Dumplings restaurant in the Christchurch Bus Interchange ...

Company ordered to repay woman whose name adorns a dumpling restaurant chain.

Man critically injured in fall

The Suter Art Gallery in Nelson, where an independent contractor fell on Tuesday, sustaining critical injuries.

Man fighting for his life after falling while carrying out work at Nelson's Suter Art Gallery.

Bottlenecks to avoid - if you can

An all too familiar sight for Aucklanders hoping to get away from it all.

There are 21 traffic pinch-points to watch out for around NZ this Labour Weekend.

Waikato

Virtual cave tour

Ruakuri Cave will be the first cave system in New Zealand to be brought onto Google Maps.

Google goes underground, allowing you to explore one of NZs hidden gems from home.

CBD is hot property

Hamilton CBD, seen from teh east side of the Waikato River, is experiencing increased occupancy amid a stroing of new ...

Waiting for a tenant doesn't work any more, Hamilton commercial real estate leader says.

Toilet training in paradise

Raglan hopes to stop any unnecessary wastewater overflows by reminding people of what should and shouldn't go into the ...

Holiday destination plagued by sewage spills takes toilet etiquette to the street.

Casino robbery lead

A Hamilton casino punter was followed home and robbed by an armed attacker.

A Hamilton casino punter was followed home and robbed at knifepoint.

Taranaki

Ute dragged out of sea video

Dave Chadfield, of Chaddy's Charters, points to where a ute is submerged in the marina at Port Taranaki after two men ...

"I heard screaming, yelling and swearing and saw two guys walk ashore."

Womad NZ line-up unveiled

Tinariwen Elwan will play Womad NZ 2018

Almost 30 acts from across the globe have been revealed for next year's three-day music festival.

'The colony's dullest hole'

Len Lye Centre facade and White Hart hotel

Slagging off provincial small town New Zealand is fraught with danger.

Jury out in sex case

A jury of eight men and four women have begun deliberations at a sex trial in  the New Plymouth District Court. (File Photo)

A jury is considering verdicts in a case involving sex allegations which date back 10 years.

Manawatu

Full firefighting kit for 170km

Palmerston North firefighters are walking to Wellington in full kit to support efforts to tackle motor neuron disease.  ...

Palmerston North firefighters will walk to Wellington to raise money to combat motor neuron disease.

Late nights threatened

The Awapuni Function Centre is one of several licensed premises wanting changes to Palmerston North's draft local ...

City council's alcohol policy could force function centre to close early and put some bookings at risk.

Tararua woman still missing

Elizabeth Udy, 45, is missing and police have concerns for her safety.

Tararua woman Elizabeth Udy, 45, is still missing after one week.

A rural shemozzle

Libby Masefield having fun with bulls' balls in her mouth.

What started as a yarn at the pub has become a rural event attracting 5000 visitors a year. 

Nelson

Milk dance creative, entertaining

The Creamery was part of the Nelson Art's Festival.

The Nelson Musical Theatre was transformed into a cheese factory for The Creamery - an interpretive show about the world of cheese.

Final drop begins

A small number of protesters show their disdain for the third poison drop at the Brook Sanctuary.

Final poison drop starts as part of the Brook Sanctuary operation.

Man critical after Suter Gallery fall

The Suter Art Gallery in Nelson, where an independent contractor fell on Tuesday, sustaining critical injuries.

A man is fighting for his life after falling while carrying out work at the Suter Art Gallery.

GP practice accredited

Collingwood Health is now Foundation Standard certified.

After failing to meet accreditation standards in the given timeframe, Collingwood Health has now achieved them

Marlborough

A rose for Red Cross

There are 2500 roses ready to sell at the fundraiser on Thursday.

Preparations are underway for Red Rose Day tomorrow.

Bridging the gap

Sounds Air chief executive Andrew Crawford says if the research stacks up 19-seater Beechcrafts could be flying between ...

Sounds Air could be flying 19-seaters between Christchurch and Blenheim by early next year.

Corporate rowing crews battle it out

30082017 News Photo: TOM LEE/STUFF - Sport - Rowing NZ team media day at Lake Karapiro. Mens eight

Corporate 8 crews optimistic at Wairau Rowing Club's annual challenge.

'Skylarking' caused fatal crash

Lara Glover, 16, died and four others were injured in the car crash on February 19.

Teen driver caused fatal crash by swerving his parents' SUV from side to side while doing close to 100kmh.

South Canterbury

Jet boat marathon hits Waitaki video

18102017 News JOHN BISSET/STUFF.  World jet boat marathon on Waitaki River contact Paul Mullan 027284 9194. Pictured are ...

The sound of jet boat engines echoed along the  'difficult' Waitaki River yesterday.

No word on SH1 call

Mid-South Canterbury area commander Inspector Dave Gaskin

Pareora residents renew calls for lower speed limit after three-car crash in September.

Teacher censured over kayak trip

Physical education teacher Stuart Albrey has taught at Waimate High School since 1986.

A Waimate High School teacher has been censured for serious misconduct

Call to check wells

Canterbury medical officer of health Dr Alistair Humphrey told RNZ Tuesday there had been anecdotal accounts from ...

Households urged to monitor their private water supplies regularly - particularly those with pregnant mothers, or young babies.

Otago

A man without Viices

McComb said he would love to perform at Homegrown or the Reading Festival in the UK at some point.

Viices, aka Jake McComb, "only really made enough to pay for parking" the first time he busked.

Qtown businesses losses continue

Businesses are making insurance claims for interruptions caused by a burst water main.

Businesses are making insurance claims for ongoing interruptions caused by a burst water main in central Queenstown.

Ministry backs down on buses

A Queenstown school bus.

Students living in Sunshine Bay, Frankton, Jack's Point and Kelvin Heights will have to find their own way to school.

Cromwell basin business booms

At least 35 businesses supported the 11ha extension of Akarua's Pisa Development Vineyard near Cromwell.

Akarua Vineyard organises impromptu fair to celebrate viticulture investment.

Southland

The Lim hymn: Let's Eat

Celebrity chef Nadia Lim shares her latest book, Let's Eat, with Julie Allan, Sarah Johnson and Gabrielle Berger Sidwell ...

Despite releasing seven cookbooks in seven years, inspiration is never far away for celebrity chef Nadia Lim.

Bravery awards given

Nightcaps men Conrad Waihape, left, and Phil Manson were presented with Bravery awards at a Southland District Council ...

"It was pretty dark and bloody hard to see..."

Let's talk, Southland: Kirwan

Sir John Kirwan visited Northern Southland College, Lumsden, on Tuesday afternoon.

Mental health speeches "powerful, timely, relevant".

Aparima College to get new principal, board of trustees

Aparima College commissioner Nicola Hornsey.

Embattled Aparima College in Riverton is set to have elections to form a board of trustees after its new principal is recruited.

Ad Feedback