A mass whale stranding on Farewell Spit in New Zealand's Golden Bay has left 24 of the animals dead - with the toll expected to rise.
Andrew Lamason from the Department of Conservation (DOC) said most of the pilot whales that survived were refloated in the high tide, but were "swimming in a confused fashion".
Speaking to the Guardian, he added: "What the risk is, is you've got some of those whales in that pod that are determined to re-strand and they'll be dragging the ones that have been refloated back onto the beach.
"It's sad but in a way it's how nature works. You've gotta be pragmatic when you're wearing my shoes."
Pictures of the sad scene have been uploaded to Twitter:
- CECHR (@CECHR_UoD) February 13, 2015
:( A mass whale stranding on Farewell Spit in New Zealand's Golden Bay has left 24 of the animals dead and local... http://t.co/jPeW56jBEX
- Sandra Lynn (@sandralynn0067) February 13, 2015
Around 100 people worked on Friday to help rescue the whales. But Mr Lamason warned the death toll is likely to rise, telling Yahoo News: "Listen, we have to be pretty realistic. I think that number's going to increase."
The team will have to wait until Saturday's high tide to attempt another refloat, reports the Daily Telegraph.
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