According to reports, experts are cautiously optimistic as they declared the whale stranding crisis to be over. Over the weekend, New Zealand authorities were faced with an unusual such situation.
Finding sea animals stranded on the beach is not an unusual occurrence. Usually, such situations can be taken care of quite easily. And they are few in between and involve a small number of animals. But over the weekend, New Zealand was faced with an unusual such situation.
Early on Friday, authorities noted the first cases of what was to become a whale stranding crisis. On February 10, people spotted a pod of whales. They were discovered on Farewell Spit, a 16 miles long narrow sand spit. This is located on the northern end of New Zealand’s South Island.
The initial number of beached whales reached 416. But the numbers were seen to increase as more whales followed them over the weekend.
An exact cause for the whale stranding crisis has yet to be determined. However, scientists have advanced a possible explanation. According to them, the whales’ internal navigation system may have been disturbed.
More exactly, it could have been interfered with by the aforementioned Farewell Spit. Its sweeping, shallow spit may be affecting the natural navigation system. Research also advanced this theory due to another fact. The area is not at its first stranding event. In fact, it is a quite common site for mass beaching.
Nonetheless, specialists hope that the current whale stranding crisis has come to an end. They are cautiously optimistic on the matter. Still, they have reasons to rejoice.
A number of about 300 pilot whales were seen heading out of the bay. They were helped along by the low tide. This started approaching the area early on Sunday evening. With some help from the waters, the whales started heading out.
They were followed along by scientists and specialists. The pilot whales left behind the Golden Bay. This latter houses the Farewell Spit area. As it is, the whales seem to be heading towards deeper waters. Their next destination seems to be the Cook Strait, a safer area.
Andrew Lamason offered some additional details. He is the New Zealand Department of Conservation regional conservation manager. According to his statement, about 666 pilot whales beached themselves.
The whales stranding crisis came in rounds. It started on Friday and continued on late Saturday afternoon. At the time, an additional 240 whales beached themselves. These were found some 3 kilometers away from the initial Friday location.
Scientists, specialists, and volunteers have been tending to the animals. They have been keeping them cool. And have been trying to establish the best method of dealing with the situation.
According to Lamason, the pod is now swimming away. And the boats have been pulled away. The specialists placed a chain of boats on the waters. They were trying to keep away other whales.
The boats were also used on Sunday. They helped guide the formerly stranded whales towards the other survivors. Thanks to the collective efforts, a significant number of whales survived.
But the whales stranding crisis also had its casualties. Unfortunately, not all the whales could be saved. The beaching problem could have led to even bigger problems. Both the whale population and the local environment could have been affected if the mass phenomenon had continued.
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