More than 400 whales stranded on a New Zealand beach: authorities confirm

Hundreds of pilot whales stranded on a New Zealand beach in the morning hours on Friday, marking one of the worst whale beachings in the country’s history.

Authorities confirmed that more than 400 pilot whales got stuck in the sand at Farewell Spit at the northern tip of the South Island, and many of them died.

A big number of conservation workers and volunteers raced among stranded whales at the beach, sloshing water from buckets over their bodies to keep them hydrated. But, they failed to save many.

Kath Inwood, a community ranger at the country’s Department of Conservation, said that nearly 300 volunteers joined conservation workers in a bid to save the huge marine animals. Some volunteers formed human chains in order to prevent rescued whales from swimming back to the shore.

Speaking on the topic, Inwood said, “It can be really quite distressing seeing so many dead whales. People need to be resilient and handle that and then get on with what needs to be done.”

Pilot-whale stranding at New Zealand beaches is quite common and occurs frequently at the Farewell Spit; which is why this site has also been called a whale trap. However, the scale of the most recent beaching has nevertheless come as a big shock.