Saturday, March 19, 2022

Whale Stranding — Farewell Spit

Whale Stranding Farewell Spit, Tasman Bay, New Zealand. 18 March 22


The latest news on the whale stranding at Farewell Spit is that

around 36 pilot whales have stranded approximately 4km from the Farewell Spit carpark at Puponga.

DOC and Project Jonah are both on the scene and assessing the situation. 

There are only a handful of whales still alive and as yet no decision has been made about what to do with the survivors. 

Several whales which were in a very poor state were euthanised yesterday 18th March.

We have enquired with the Dept., of Conservation for the latest update.

DOC accessing the sad situation 19 March 22.

Update from DOC concerning the situation on Friday

DOC Takaka Operations Manager Dave Winterburn reported.

A pilot whale found stranded at the base of Farewell Spit has unfortunately had to be euthanised on Friday afternoon for the welfare of the animal.

The whale was in poor condition and was not going to survive. Decisions to euthanize stranded whales are not taken lightly and euthanasia is carried out when it is the humane course of action.

In addition, one of the five pilot whales which was refloated has restranded.

Earlier today, five surviving pilot whales were refloated with the 11am high tide by Department of Conservation rangers and Project Jonah medics.

We first received a report of the stranding at about 6pm on Thursday night. Rangers were sent to the site, but an incoming tide and night conditions meant they were unable to remain there overnight. They counted a total of 36 whales stranded, of which 7 were alive when rangers left the site.

When a team of rangers arrived at the site early this morning, they found 34 whales at the site, of which 5 were alive. It is thought there were less whales found there on Friday morning because 2 carcasses may have been lifted by the high tide on Thursday night and taken out to sea.

We are not seeking any assistance from the public as we have enough DOC rangers and Project Jonah medics on site to manage the situation.

DOC is working with Manawhenua Ki Mohua to ensure the deceased whales are treated appropriately.

An aerial survey of the 28km length of Farewell Spit this morning did not find any additional stranded whales.

While this event is unfortunate, whale strandings are a natural phenomenon.

The cause of this stranding is not known, but Golden Bay is a high stranding area with Farewell Spit hooking around the northern entrance into the bay and forming extensive, many kilometres wide, intertidal sand flats.

Update from Yesterday from DOC

We have had DOC rangers do an early morning sweep around at low tide.


They found two deceased whales approx 1.5km apart, it is not clear if these two whales are from the group that were reflated yesterday.  There are no live stranded whales.


Pigeon Post News



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