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. A Jones

    Its probable from the oil, they lost their way.

    September 22, 2010 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robert

      This is in New Zealand, which is about as far away from the Gulf of Mexico as you can possibly get. Please learn some geography....

      September 22, 2010 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ed says....

      It's a sign another major earthquake will occur as result of BP debacle. I recommend Zealanders start filing their claims.

      September 22, 2010 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ed the Angry Gulf fisherman

      Oh, I forgot to identify myself

      September 22, 2010 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • gg

      Great news! Always wanted to visit New Zealand and now that it has floated all the way into the gulf, I can get there.

      September 22, 2010 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ed Now An Angry Seafood Eater!

      @gg, while enroute, get a dictionary and look up the difference between geography and sarcasm!

      September 22, 2010 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      NZGovt uses 90% of 1080 poison made in USA. over 30% of our land. It is all washing into the sea. Then along all the river sides called Riparien strips, they put more including Cyanide Brodificoum etc. Which is also washing straight to the sea. No wonder the poor whales can't make it past.
      Will someone with some brains please come and save us.

      September 22, 2010 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Peter

    "Its probable from the oil, they lost their way."

    haha, I love it. 🙂 How narrow minded and unfounded

    September 22, 2010 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Kirk

    74 fat chics beached?

    September 22, 2010 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  4. scott

    how long after the first mass beaching was that earthquake? i wonder if there will be another quake. probably nothing to do with each other but it would be interesting to look into it

    lol ... maybe the death ray that the evil U.S. uses to cause earthquakes messes with whales........ come on, if not me then who will start all the conspiracy theories

    September 22, 2010 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Sickmonkey3

    i agree with A Jones, its might be because of the oil spill that BP still has to clean up.

    September 22, 2010 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • gg

      Another idiot

      September 22, 2010 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
  6. mark

    hmm sushi anyone

    September 22, 2010 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  7. GEORGE

    IN 28 DAYS IT WILL BE ABİG EARTHQUAKE IN THE WORLD.MAGNITUTE İS UNLESS 7.4.I KNOW THE REASON.I KNOW HOW IT WILL OCCUR.TAKE CARE.

    September 22, 2010 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
  8. GEORGE

    IN 28 DAYS IT WILL BE ABİG EARTHQUAKE IN THE WORLD.MAGNITUTE İS UNLESS 7.4.I KNOW THE REASON.I KNOW HOW IT WILL OCCUR.TAKE CARE

    September 22, 2010 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marco

      Damn, I knew I should've fowarded that chain letter.

      September 22, 2010 at 7:03 pm | Report abuse |
  9. SECU

    you guys are all idiots

    September 22, 2010 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
  10. deepfriedballs

    whales are large useless mamals that just take up space

    September 22, 2010 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
  11. pLaYahAtr

    Yo somebody gotta do somethin bout those fat chicks on the beaches!

    September 22, 2010 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |
  12. baby

    is one of them eddie long?

    September 22, 2010 at 7:03 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Sam

    In other NZ news , a flock of 700 sheep were found floating dead off the shore of Christchurch.

    September 22, 2010 at 9:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Revenge of the tasty shrimp

      “It’s heart-wrenching to have to see so many whales coming ashore and then drowning in the surf..." – good observation there my friend. I thought i was the only one who kinda noticed it.

      September 23, 2010 at 12:22 am | Report abuse |
  14. Thomas

    Me and my mates came across a kid whale stuck infront of a sand bank by the surf once, we tried to push the fella out, but with every wave the sand just kept building up around him. We just had to leave the guy there =( Whales are very expressive, we only noticed he wasnt a rock because of his effort!!

    September 22, 2010 at 11:16 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Revenge of the tasty shrimp

    Shrimps and other tasty sea creatures that whales usually ate took revenge by hurdling near ashore where the whales surprisingly meets their doom. lol! =)

    September 22, 2010 at 11:50 pm | Report abuse |
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