300 whales died, rescuers race to save stranded whales in New Zealand coast

Updated: 00:00 GMT, Jan 1, 1970 | Published: 11:38 GMT, Feb 10, 2017 |

Rescuers were racing to save hundreds of pilot whales in New Zealand’s picturesque Golden Bay on Friday (Feb 10), after one of the country’s largest recorded mass whale strandings.

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

Volunteers are frantically trying to refloat the surviving whales but some are now swimming in the wrong direction and heading back into the bay, Department of Conservation spokesman Andrew Lamason said.

A conservation department worker noticed the whales washed ashore on Thursday evening (Feb 9), but the government agency decided against a night rescue effort for fear volunteers would be injured by the whales in the darkness.

Local media reported on Friday (February 10) 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.

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