Pilot Whales Euthanized in New Zealand

Conservation officials in New Zealand reported that a pod of 28 pilot whales died after they became stranded on a remote beach on Stewart Island.  It was the fourth time whales have washed onto a beach in the past several months.

 

The whales were discovered by a hiker at West Ruggedy Beach on February 14th.  He contacted employees from the Department of Conservation who reached the beach one hour later.  Nine of the whales were dead when they arrived and the other 19 were going downhill fast.

 

To make matters worse, rough seas and high winds stopped the conservationists from implementing a rescue mission for the surviving whales.  In recent months they have been able to save 76 stranded whales, by pushing them back into the water.

 

Sadly the decision was made to euthanize all of the surviving whales. 

 

Brent Bevan, manager of DOC told The Associated Press, “They were in reasonably good health when we got there, but the weather conditions were so bad it would have been far too dangerous to try anything else.”

 

“If there was a chance, we could have saved them, we would have given it a go – but not in those conditions.  We could either euthanize the whales, or leave them to suffer on the beach for two days.  We didn’t have any options.”

 

In January the outcome for another group of pilot whales was much better.  A pod of 33 whales was coaxed from shallow muddy waters by 80 volunteers.  They all made it safely out to sea.

 

Pilot whales are members of the dolphin family and have a similar high intelligence.  They are social animals that live in pods of 20 – 90 whales.  Males grow between 15 – 16 ft long and females are typically around 12ft.  

 

In the past few months, more than 140 pilot whales have died after becoming stranded on various New Zealand beaches.  Scientists think they wash on shore as they pass by on their way to breeding grounds in the South Pacific.  In 2003 nearly 160 whales died.   

 

 

 

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140 comments

Cindy C.
Cindy C.6 years ago

THE POOR WHALES AND WHY THE HECK BE SO SICK AND CRUEL AND WHY ARE WE HUMANS SO IN HUMAN, THE GOOD ONES SHOULD PREVENT THIS FROM HAPPENING. I HOPE ONE DAY WE WILL SEE WHAT SICK CRUEL RACE WE ARE AND WE ARE SUPPOSE TO LOOK AFTER OUR CHILDREN AND ANIMALS OF OUR FUTURE.

Lee M.
Lee M.6 years ago

If these people are going to try to "rescue" animals, whales, etc., they should be prepared to deal with "bad weather"...let's face it..the weather is not always "perfect". I think they should have braved the elements, rough seas, etc. for the sake of the whales...otherwise don't volunteer to save.

Peter G.
Peter Geissler6 years ago

They euthanized these poor whales, because they was too chicken to bring them back in the sea at this weather......
I don't understand how someone could kill these poor animals, to beware himself from a dangerous situation.....
That's egoistic and cruel!

Kurt Valentine

So sad.

Kurt Valentine

So sad.

Elena Glikina
Elena Glikina6 years ago

It is so sad!

Tammy Smith
Tammy Zabel6 years ago

SUCH A SAD SORRY

Joseph G.
Past Member 6 years ago

Noted

John Dixon
John Dixon6 years ago

sickening and disgusting why people do what they do.

Michele Ware-Frey
Michele F.6 years ago

I was wondering whether the whale pods are being tracked by any organization? I know that other marine species (like sharks) are tagged and tracked so that we may learn more about them. Perhaps we could gain more information as to the why the whales are beached if we knew more about their lives prior to the actual event? Just wondering...