14 January 2014 -
Around 8am this morning, Department of Conservation staff were alerted to approximately 50 pilot whales close to shore off Taupata Point, on Farewell Spit. The whales came into the shallows and a number stranded at 11am. Department of Conservation staff on the scene were able to successfully refloat most of the animals. Thirteen animals remain stranded on the beach.
Project Jonah has 180 trained Marine Mammal Medics on standby, and 30 Medics have been mobilised to assist the Department of Conservation with the rescue response.
Project Jonah General Manager, Daren Grover, warns that although many animals have already been refloated, there is a risk that the whales may re-strand so efforts are concentrated on both the animals on the beach and those in the waters nearby. After initially tracking the free-swimming whales, they seem to have moved away from the stranding site, which leads us to hope there won’t be any further re-strandings.
“Our medics are working tirelessly alongside DOC staff to keep the stranded whales cool, calm and comfortable until conditions are suitable to attempt to refloat the animals,” says Project Jonah General Manager, Daren Grover.
"We will need to assess the sea conditions around 6.30pm to assess whether it will be safe to have people in chest-deep sea water attempting to refloat the whales in this remote location," states DOC ranger Greg Napp.
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