28 February 2010
Each year, hundreds of whales strand on our shores but this year's been a particularly busy one.
In addition to a number of smaller strandings across the country there have been three large mass strandings in the last two months alone.
On Christmas Eve a massive pod of pilot whales stranded on the tip of Farewell Spit. Tragically their plight went unnoticed until Boxing Day, resulting in almost 80 whales dying and a further 30 being euthanised.
The very next day 64 pilot whales beached themselves in Colville Bay, Coromandel. Thanks to the speedy response of locals, DOC and Project Jonah, 43 were successfully refloated and sent back to sea.
On the 24th January another 50 pilot whales came ashore at Port Levy, near Christchurch. Whilst sadly 16 died, another 34 were saved.
"Speed of response and raising the alarm quickly is key to saving these animals" says Kimberly Muncaster, CEO of Project Jonah.
Thanks to the generous support of the Frielander Foundation stranding posters detailing the do's and don'ts of whale rescue are available to local communities.
"Saving whales isn't as easy as it looks. There's more to it than just chucking water over them and pushing them back to sea", says Kimberly.
"The more people who know what to do, the more eyes, ears and practiced hands we’ll have on the beaches. Quite simply, that will translate into more lives saved.”
Local support is needed to help display posters in coastal areas. Posters can be downloaded
or sent out on request.