September 22nd, 2010
12:57 PM ET

74 whales beached in northern New Zealand

As many as 74 pilot whales have beached themselves in northern New Zealand in the second mass stranding in the area in two months.

Rough seas and gusting winds are pushing the whales into rocks causing injuries that may force authorities to euthanize many of those that rescuers can get on the beach, said Patrick Whaley, operations manager for New Zealand’s Department of Conservation. Others are drowning in the surf along the remote beach in Spirits Bay.

“It’s heart-wrenching to have to see so many whales coming ashore and then drowning in the surf, without being able to reach them in time,” Whaley said.

Rescuers had managed to get eight of the whales above the high surf line and were planning to care for them on the beach overnight with hopes of returning them to the ocean in the morning, said Carolyn Smith, a Department of Conservation spokesperson.

At least 25 whales had died. Officials fear dozens of other whales may be in danger just offshore.

In August, 49 pilot whales died after stranding themselves on a beach at Karikari, also in New Zealand’s far north. Nine were saved during that stranding.

What’s behind the whale strandings remains a mystery. Theories include a herd behavior, where one animal gets in trouble and others follow, fleeing predators, beach formations that confuse the whales echo-location senses, or possible interference from human sonar.

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Filed under: Animals • New Zealand • Whales • World
soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. mike

    Underwater sonar.. and frequencies are making the whales go ballistic- they would rather come to shore and breach themselves then return to the water where the sounds are stronger... Submarines had to lower their sonar years ago because of the same problem- Everything is amplified in water

    September 23, 2010 at 1:28 am | Report abuse |
  2. yvonnec

    Its BP's fault.

    September 23, 2010 at 4:32 am | Report abuse |
  3. Angus McDugan

    Warning; conspiracy theory: Its caused by sonar from submarines.

    September 23, 2010 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
  4. Elvin

    It's unbelievable how many people took there time to place there opinions on a serious matter with a negative response.

    We need to look into serious matter with a open mind. What ever effects the animal in sea or in land effects us.

    Let's study what's going wrong with our planet. Thank you for your time...

    September 23, 2010 at 10:15 am | Report abuse |
  5. Randu

    It's probably due to military sonar test. This has been going on for ages now, it's really a shame. Here's a link that explains a bit about it.

    September 23, 2010 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  6. yasmeen allen

    this report is amazing im doing a report for my school muellrannan middle and this is so sad im so disapointed in how this world is turning out to be i just wonder whhy does this have to happen to the world i wish it would all stop please write back !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 23, 2010 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Amadou sowe

    Oh that sad to see the whales dying let the national conservation of new zealand do something to help the whales

    September 25, 2010 at 8:36 am | Report abuse |
  8. Kara

    I think the older whales went there to die and the younger ones just followed.

    September 30, 2010 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
  9. penny

    I know alot of people think this is a joke but our world won't be around forever without help from us. Nothing last forever and be thankful you live in a time we still have whales. They have their own family and love for each other. They will come to the aid of a calf and that is how man can kill them so easily. Not dumb animals!!!! If you get your head out of your a$$ and listen to whales, their songs are relaxing to the soul. Yes, I know someone will come back with a stupid comment or make a joke but you have lost the BIG PICTURE and you really could enrich your life by being open minded about life and the beauty of this world.

    October 4, 2010 at 6:53 am | Report abuse |
  10. destiny

    penny is right because the people of the future will be upset with us people today for not keeping things good for them. The polar bears in the arctic are dying because there is no land under the ice and tempuratures are rising and at this rate, in about a decade or less (maybe more) all arctic animals could end up being extinct. witch could cause drastic changes in the food chain for animals and humans. I am trying my hardest to help the earth. I am a vedgitarian (sorry if i spell it wrong because i'm only 12) and to keep my protein level up, i ake protein pills and drink protein shakes instead of eating meat and i am thinking about becoming a vegan next. and maybe when i get older, i could start a mulche business and sell it for reasonable prices. I am accually trying so i am hoping you can too.

    October 4, 2010 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
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