More than hundreds of rescuers from all over the world are fighting to save 400 stranded whales on the Farewell Spit in Golden Bay on the tip of the South Island Friday. Around 300 of these have already died.
Volunteers equipped with blankets have started a mass rescue operation in an attempt to keep the animals wet and cold.
So far, around 300 of them have died, which is the highest death rate of mass whale stranding in the country’s history.
Experts don’t know what caused this mass stranding, although some sources cite that often old, sick or injured members of the group make a navigation mistake and end up in shallow waters.
The rescue operation started this morning as taking any steps late Thursday evening was quite risky, officials said.
Volunteer rescue group Project Jonah announced that a total of 416 whales have stranded, 75% of which were dead when they were discovered.
NGOs for animal protection state that New Zealand has the highest mass stranding rate in the world about 300 whales and dolphins are stranded on the country’s beaches each year. Most of these happen at Farewell Split.
The greatest mass stranding in the history of New Zealand occurred in 1985, when 450 whales were stranded in Oakland.