Twenty-eight pilot whales died in a mass stranding at a remote beach over the weekend on New Zealand’s Stewart Island.
Nine whales were already dead on Sunday morning when a hiker came across the pod scattered over about 700 metres of West Ruggedy Beach, and the rest had to be euthanized, the Department of Conservation (DOC) said.
DOC manager Brent Bevan told the Southland Times on Monday that wild seas and strong winds made it too dangerous to mount a rescue effort to save the survivors. They were put down to prevent prolonged suffering, because they would have died by drowning or sunburn.
Rugged Stewart Island is the most southerly of New Zealand’s three main islands, about 30km off the tip of the South Island. – Sapa-dpa