Stranded whales euthanased by DOC

Last updated 18:17 15/11/2012

STRANDED: Twenty-eight pilot whales beached two kilometres from the base of Farewell Spit.

Relevant offers


Surfers tried to save friend who drowned at coastal Taranaki break Security threats focus of Australian foreign minister's visit What matters most to girls: New research boosts Girl Guide biscuit drive $27 million up for grabs in Lotto after Powerball fails to be struck Coroner to examine death of five-year-old at Auckland's Piha beach One dead after Southern Motorway crash near Pokeno Fatal quad bike accident, near Taupo New Technology mapping rips could save lives Child dies in 'tragic accident' after going missing at Piha Man drowned in Warea, South Taranaki

Sixteen pilot whales have been euthanased after a pod of 28 whales stranded earlier today on Farewell Spit in Golden Bay.

Do you know anything more about the whale stranding? Email your newstips, photos and video to

The whales stranded on Farewell Spit in Golden Bay about 10am.

Eleven died in the hour that followed, one a couple of hours later and the surviving whales were facing a dire two days ahead of them, DOC biodiversity manager Hans Stoffregen said.

DOC made the decision to euthanase the mammals following consultation with Project Jonah, a whale protection organisation.  

They were euthanased this afternoon, Project Jonah chief executive Kimberly Muncaster confirmed.

It was likely that more whales would strand in the days to come and volunteers were on alert, Muncaster said.

The whales were brought ashore in an “unusually high” tide this morning and it was incredibly unlikely they would have been able to be refloated in the next two days, Stoffregen said.

“It’s really sad and not a situation we take lightly but anything else is inhumane and would prolong their suffering,” Stoffregen said.

“They don’t look that flash so putting them all through another two days of this is inhumane.”

The pod was lying almost amongst the driftwood and the next high tide at midnight probably would not reach them, he said.

They were shot with a high calibre rifle and were left on the beach to be savaged and rot.

DOC first got a call at 9am that a baby whale had stranded on its own and when staff went there they learnt of another 28 stranded about 2km east of the bottom of Farewell Spit.

It had called in Project Jonah volunteers who were with the whales.

Stoffregen said it would possible more whales might also come in, and he asked anyone seeing more whales out at sea or beached to contact DOC.

This stranding was earlier than usual, with the main season for whale strandings from around the end of the year through until March, he said.

Today it was becoming windy and bad weather was expected on Saturday, he said.   

Whale strandings are not uncommon in Golden Bay, at the top of the South Island.

A pod of 99 pilot whales stranded at Farewell Spit in Golden Bay in January. Many died while more than 90 volunteers worked to refloat others.

Muncaster says the geography of Golden Bay was incredibly confusing for whales and they often ended up stranded again after being refloated.

Ad Feedback

- Stuff

Special offers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content