New Zealand workers cutting holes in whale carcasses

New Zealand wildlife workers are cutting holes in hundreds of dead pilot whales on Monday to prevent them from exploding as they decompose on Golden Bay, authorities have confirmed.

More than 600 whales became stranded on the Farewell Spit at the tip of the South Island over the weekend. While workers form the Department of Conservation (DOC) and volunteers managed to save nearly 300 whales, the remaining died on the beach.

A DOC spokesperson told reporters that workers in protective clothing are cutting holes in the whale carcasses with knives and two-meter-long needles to release internal gases that build up pressure and make such carcasses to explode, if not released.

Speaking on the topic, the spokesperson said, “The area is currently closed to the public because of the risk from whales exploding … [workers] cutting holes in the whale carcasses, like popping balloons, with knives and two meter (six feet) needles, to release internal gases that build up pressure.”

Experts say it could a number of months for the whale carcasses to decompose and turn into skeletons. A pod of around 400 pilot whales became stranded at the beach last Friday, with a second pod of nearly 200 whales stranded on the following day.

The precise cause of the shocking whale stranding at the Farewell Spit, which is also called a whale trap, is yet to be determined.