On Monday, a group of 49 pioneer whales, a species of whale, were found about ninety kilometers north of the tourist city of Nelson. A tour operator sounded an alarm, then volunteers tried to keep the animals wet and cool. They formed a human chain to send whales into deeper waters. This eventually worked for most experimental whales. The rescued animals swam again in the evening about eighty meters off the coast, according to Radio New Zealand.
But Tuesday morning, the animals were found again on the same beach. 28 leading whales still survive, and at least fifteen have died. Several whales also died on Monday.
Some pilot whales will now try to swim to deeper waters again, but some still hang around near the coast. Rescue workers have been deployed to help the animals. Project Jonah explains: “Whales swim freely off the coast and are monitored by nature conservation from the boat.”
Pilot whales often wash ashore on the Farewell Spit, a type of hook made of sand that juts out into the sea. This has happened at least ten times in the past fifteen years. The previous big accident occurred in 2017, when around 700 of these animals were washed away by water. About 250 experimental whales did not survive.
Pilot whales belong to the dolphin family. Black mammals can reach 8 meters in length.