Hundreds of pilot whales stranded on New Zealand beach

It's one of the country's largest recorded mass whale stranding

Updated: 

Rescuers are racing to save hundreds of pilot whales in New Zealand after one of the country's largest recorded mass whale strandings.

Up to 300 whales had died and volunteers were trying to send more than a hundred more back out to sea.

See also: Whale nearly swallows diver

See also: Humpback whale spotted in New York's East River

A conservation department worker noticed the whales washed ashore at the picturesque beach in Golden Bay on Thursday evening.

But the government agency decided against a night rescue effort for fear volunteers would be injured by the whales in the darkness.

Credits: REUTERS

Credits: REUTERS

Credits: AFP

Local media reported on Friday that volunteers had managed to refloat some of the whales during high tide, but most were quickly restranded as the tide ebbed.

The event was New Zealand's largest known whale stranding since 1985 when 450 were stranded in Auckland.

Credits: AFP

Credits: REUTERS

Whales often get stuck at Golden Bay, a remote but popular holiday area at the top of New Zealand's south island.

The bay's shallow waters make it difficult for whales to return to deeper water, according to marine life rescue organisation Jonah Watch.


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