The worst danger to stranded whales is overheating in the sun, as their dark skin and layers of blubber work to trap heat.
© NINA HINDMARSH
The worst danger to stranded whales is overheating in the sun, as their dark skin and layers of blubber work to trap heat.
Rescuers in New Zealand had to race against time to save dozens of pilot whales that were stranded on the beachside in New Zealand on Monday.

The Department of Conservation (DOC) reported that a pod of 49 long-finned pilot whales was discovered at Farewell Spit, which is nearly 90 kilometres (55 metres) north of Nelson.

As soon as the pod was discovered, more than 60 people set to work to rescue the whales and bring them back to a healthy life. However, by mid-afternoon nine of the whales from the pod were declared dead.


"Marine mammal medics will assist with refloating the whales and caring for them on the beach, keeping them cool and wet until they can be refloated," a spokeswoman for DOC reported.

Farewell Spit is a stretch of 26-kilometre of sand that protrudes into the sea at Golden Bay. It has, in the recent past, too, seen similar whale stranding, the recent one being in February 2017, when almost 700 of the marine mammals beached, resulting in 250 deaths.

The reason behind these whale strandings is not yet clear as even the scientists are puzzled as to why is this specific beach so deadly. One given theory, till now is that the spit might be creating a shallow seabed in the bay that may interfere with the whales' sonar navigation systems.

Volunteer Petra Juric of Nelson attends to
© BRADEN FASTIER / STUFF/NELSON MAIL
Volunteer Petra Juric of Nelson attends to a juvenile Pilot Whale, one of the 49 that were stranded.