Almost 50 pilot whales have restranded at Farewell Spit in New Zealand despite volunteers trying for days to save them.
Department of Conservation rangers and Project Jonah volunteers refloated more than 60 whales on Sunday afternoon, only to find 48 live whales and one dead on the beach on Monday morning.
The whales were found at the base of Farewell Spit, DOC spokesperson Trish Grant said.
#pilotwhales have restranded at Puponga. All medics in area please proceed and sign in with DOC on arrival by 10.30am if possible.
— Project Jonah (@ProjectJonah) January 19, 2014
She said rescuers planned to refloat the whales in the incoming high tide on Monday. Project Jonah was asking for more trained volunteers to help with the rescue effort, Ms Grant said. About 28 stranded whales had already died this weekend, DOC said on Sunday.
— nzherald (@nzherald) January 19, 2014
A total of 71 whales were found on the beach on Sunday morning, including eight dead, spread over 1.6km.
On Saturday morning, 53 whales stranded, including 13 which died.
The weekend’s strandings were the third at Farewell Spit this summer.
On Thursday, 13 pilot whales died or were put down and two weeks ago 39 whales suffered the same fate.
Whale strandings are common on the 24-kilometre long Farewell Spit, at the top of the South Island. The topography is believed to confuse the whales and they often beach themselves again after being refloated.