Whale beachings
Representational Image: A stranded whale on a beach in New ZealandFlickr

A rescue team is trying to refloat around 90 stranded pilot whales after more than 100 died on a beach in New Zealand's South Island.

Around 200 pilot whales were stranded on Farewell Spit at Golden Bay, near Nelson. Around 80 conservation workers and volunteers are involved in the rescue efforts.

The volunteers were trying to help the sea mammals find their way into deeper water, but weather conditions and nightfall stalled the rescue efforts on Friday, The New Zealand Herald reports.

Meanwhile, conservation officials say that they have a last chance of saving the whales on the next high tide. And in case that fails, the whales will have to be put down.

The dead whales had sustained great physical as well as emotional trauma. To keep the rest of the whales comfortable before they are refloated, the rescue workers are pouring water over them.

It has been learnt that the whales that had been refloated during the high tide were "swimming in a confused fashion", said Andrew Lamason from the Department of Conservation (DOC).

"What the risk is, is you've got some of those whales in that pod which are determined to restrand and they'll be dragging the ones that have been refloated back onto the beach," he said, The Guardian reports.

Farewell Spit is notorious for whale beaching and is also known as "deathtrap". But, according to local conservation ranger Mike Ogle, this is the biggest beaching episode in the last 10 to 15 years.

"Because there's just so many whales, there are a couple of spots where a lot would gather together and that's kind of problematic from the aspect that you can't get in there, it's just too dangerous," he said.

The incident has been tweeted by many. Some of the tweets are as follows:


Sometime last year, as many as 58 pilot whales had died after being stranded on an isolated beach in northern New Zealand. The video below provides some more details on the incident: