12 February 2017
- Over 600 whales have been stranded on a New Zealand coastline over the past two days, with half of them dying despite rescue efforts to refloat them at sea.
The crisis began Friday when a pod of 416 pilot whales became stranded on Farewell Spit in Golden Bay and the situation deteriorated when another pod of 200 whales joined them at shore late Saturday.
From the outset, rescuers waded into neck-deep water to keep them at sea, even defying a shark threat. However, Department of Conservation (DOC) officials decided on Friday night to leave the whales overnight as efforts to refloat them during darkness turned too risky.
Over 300 whales died before the rescuers and volunteers converged at the coastline on Saturday. The rescuers formed a human wall to guide the survivors out to the sea and prevent the other whales from coming to shore.
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