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Rescuers attempt to refloat stranded whales in New Zealand

Saturday, February 11, 2017 - 01:01

Rescuers attempt to refloat stranded whales in New Zealand's Golden Bay. Rough Cut (No reporter narration).

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ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) Rescuers attempted to refloat a number of stranded whales in New Zealand's Golden Bay for a second day on Saturday (February 11), where some 300 carcasses littered the beach after one of the country's largest recorded mass whale strandings. A conservation department worker spotted the whales washed ashore on Thursday (February 9) evening. But the government agency decided against a night rescue effort because of the risk of accidents. Hundreds of volunteers flocked to the site at the northwest tip of the South Island on Friday (February 10) after dawn broke and surviving whales were refloated at high tide by lunchtime, but 90 quickly became stranded once again as the tide ebbed. "Emotionally, it's quite stressing because you can hear the whales calling which is really quite strong, you know," said one volunteer. According to local broadcaster TVNZ, a total of 120 whales were refloated on Saturday while volunteers are keeping a close watch on those becoming stranded again. It was New Zealand's largest known whale stranding since 1985, when 450 were stranded in Auckland, and the third largest on record. The precise cause of the stranding was not known, though beached whales are not an uncommon sight at Golden Bay. Its shallow muddy waters confuse the marine mammals' sonar, leaving them vulnerable to stranding by an ebb tide, according to marine mammal charity Project Jonah. Pilot whales are not listed as endangered, but little is known about their population in New Zealand waters.

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Rescuers attempt to refloat stranded whales in New Zealand

Saturday, February 11, 2017 - 01:01