Christmas Whale Stranding in New Zealand
A herd of 63 whales became stranded on a New Zealand beach.
Source: TV ONE News Beached whales re-floated in the Coromandel, New Zealand
Two days after Christmas, holiday makers at a New Zealand beach found themselves working together with the local community to save a herd of beached whales. The whales stranded themselves on a sandbar at Colville Beach on the Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand about 5:30 a.m. Sunday 27 December.
63 pilot whales became stranded, and in spite of the efforts of the Department of Conservation, the local community and holiday makers working together, 20 of the whales died. However, the fact that 43 whales were successfully re-floated, and at the time of writing are still now swimming freely, is considered to be positive. At this stage it is not known the exact reason for the stranding. An autopsy into the dead whales will be held. The Department of Conservation is keeping a close overnight watch to ensure the whales don’t strand again.
Members of the local community and holiday makers worked together, to save the whales. It was a magnificent example of people working together, one community, the people, trying to save another community, the whales. Each group of people was assigned an individual whale to care for. They stayed with their whale for several hours, wetting it, talking to it, trying to keep it alive until it was successfully re-floated with the incoming tide.
Whale stranding records in New Zealand show that nearly 9000 whales were stranded in New Zealand between 1978 and 2004, of which only a quarter were saved. This makes the latest stranding a successful re-float. Pilot whales are one of the most common whales stranded in New Zealand. Low frequency sonar is one of the most common causes for stranding.
The latest stranding has brought about the coming together of a community of locals and holiday makers. For those involved in working together to help the whales, it will be an experience they will always remember. Saving the life of such a magnificent creature must be truly satisfying.