Whale beaches at Kaka Point

AMANDA PARKINSON
Last updated 22:02 20/02/2014

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A long-fin-pilot whale has beached itself at Kaka Point, south of Balclutha. 

A local resident found the 4-metre long whale just after 6:30pm and called the Department of Conservation. 

DOC sent staff from Invercargill but requested police assistance at 7pm, said Constable Logan Dickie, of Balclutha. 

Mr Dickie said DOC made the call that the animal could not be safely euthanised or refloated. 

"Unfortunately the whale will not be retrieved from the rocks, so will die an unfortunate death."

DOC Invercargill duty officer Brian Murphy said the whale was stuck in the "surge" zone - the area where the shore breaks onto the rocks. 

"It is getting thrown around and is not the easiest animal to euthanise," he said. 

Mr Murphy said the most humane way to kill the whale would be with a high-powered rifle, but it was "too risky". 

"They have a very small target zone and if you miss there is the risk you will injure it without killing it," he said.

The whale was refloated with the assistance of local surf life savers and the local fire fighters at approximately 8pm but became beached again at 8:45pm.

Department of Conservation biodiversity ranger Roz Cole said there had been no other sightings of whales at this stage.

"From 6:30pm till 9pm we could not see any others, so that is encouraging because it is a concern with pilot whales that more will strand - they usually strand as a pod."

Mrs Cole said DOC did not make the call to leave the animal beached easily or lightly.

Mr Murphy and other DOC staff will attend the site early tomorrow morning.


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- The Southland Times

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