The Department of Conservation says dead whales from last weekend’s mass pilot whale stranding on Farewell Spit have been secured but not all the whales have been accounted for and whale bodies could wash up in Golden and Tasman bays.
DOC is advising the public to report any dead whales seen to its 24-hour DOCHOTline/0800 36 24 68. DOC rangers will then remove any whale bodies from public areas or take other appropriate steps.
A total 198 whales were first found stranded on Friday 13 February. Of these, 66 were finally successfully refloated on Saturday by DOC staff and Project Jonah and other volunteers and swam away. DOC rangers have tethered 121 dead whales using anchors and rope in the tidal area off Farewell Spit to decompose naturally.
DOC Takaka Senior Ranger Hans Stoffregen said 11 whales were still unaccounted for and dead whales could still turn up, including some that might have died since being refloated.
“Dead whales could wash ashore on beaches or other coastline around Golden and Tasman bays or may be seen out at sea.
“We are asking the public to report where and when any dead whales are seen so we can deal with them. Boaties spotting whales at sea are asked if possible to provide GPS coordinates.”