Dead whales line Farewell Spit after one of New Zealand's largest mass strandings. Photo by The Guardian Newspaper

More than 400 whales stranded on Farewell Spit


Hundreds of whales have stranded on Farewell Spit but about 300 have died.

The Department of Conservation says 416 pilot whales stranded over night. Project Jonah has issued a Facebook alert about the mass stranding at the northern end of Golden Bay.

puponga_620x310Spokesman Mike Ogle said the whales had stranded on the inside beach of Farewell Spit, 1km from Triangle Flat, near Puponga.

High tide was expected at 10.30am and Ogle urged as many people as possible to help.

Those helping in the rescue were also told to come prepared with wetsuits, food and water.

Project Jonah general manager Darren Grover said he was told last night a large pod of pilot whales had been spotted close to shore and it was feared they may beach overnight.

“We were told by DOC there may well be whales on the beach this morning.”

Grover said rescuers were relying on this morning’s high tide to help refloat the mammals.

A team of up to 30 trained medics were headed to the stranding and the call had gone out for volunteers across the region to help.

Six years ago years ago 70 pilot whales stranded in the same area, also in February. The whales, who became separated from their pod, were successfully refloated.

In December 2006, 140 pilot whales stranded at Puponga Bay. Most were saved.

– Story by New Zealand Herald.