This has been a tragic week for marine mammals. At the weekend, 145 pilot whales died after a mass stranding on New Zealand’s Stewart Island, and then on Wednesday another 27 pilot whales – as well as a humpback whale – were found dead on a remote beach in Australia, while on New Zealand, 11 stranded pygmy whales died despite efforts to refloat them.
Yesterday, some 80-90 pilot whales were found stranded in Hanson Bay on the remote Chatham Islands, 500 miles east of New Zealand. According to New Zealand’s Department of Conservation, some managed to refloat themselves, but 50 were found dead and one had to be euthanised.
This latest event means that more than 200 whales have died in separate incidents in the past seven days in the region.