Efforts to rescue pilot whales stranded near Farewell Spit in Golden Bay this week failed after the surviving animals repeatedly beached themselves, eventually requiring conservation workers to euthanise them.
New Zealand has one of the highest rates of marine mammal stranding in the world, and events like this are frequent occurrences in summer months. This is the second mass whale stranding in recent days (27 animals had to be put down last week).
Why do whales strand themselves?
The Science Media Centre held an online briefing in 2010 with marine mammal experts Anton van Helden (Te Papa), Dr Rochelle Constantine (U of Auckland) and Dr Karen Stockin (Massey).
Listen to an excerpt below exploring why mass whale strandings occur:
Speakers: Anton van Helden, Rochelle Constantine (Karen Stockin not featured)