Friday, November 18, 2011

RIP Ocean Life

November 15, 2011NEW ZEALAND - Thirty-two pilot whales were confirmed dead today while the lives of 34 others hung in the balance after a mass stranding on tidal flats off New Zealand’s South Island. The remote location of the stranding meant rescuers were unable to help the marine mammals and their survival will depend on the tide, the Department of Conservation’s area manager, John Mason, told the Nelson Mail. Mr. Mason said the whales, up to five metros long, were stranded on the tidal flats at the tip of Farewell Spit in Golden Bay, located nearly three kilometers offshore at the northern end of South Island. “There’s really nothing we can do for them so we just have to hope that they manage to get out by themselves,” Mr. Mason added. The deaths of the mammals follow the stranding in Australia’s island state of Tasmania over the weekend. Twenty-three sperm whales, up to 18 meters long, died after they became stuck on Ocean Beach, near Strahan, on Saturday. One of the whales died overnight on Monday, leaving the sole surviving whale stranded off a nearby sandbank at Fraser Flats. Rescuers had to abandon their attempts to refloat the final whale today due to wild weather, The Mercury reported. “We were aware we had only a small weather window to work in today and, as forecast, the strong winds and high seas have interrupted our attempts,” incident controller Chris Arthur, from the Parks and Wildlife Service, said. He did not reveal any details as to when the rescue operation would resume. –

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