close to 70% of the 416 pilot whales stranded at the island's Golden Bay had died on Friday.
Ersin Çelik10 FEBRUARY 2017, 11:29Yeni Şafak
Hundreds of pilot whales that became stranded on New Zealand's remote South Island yesterday have died, it was reported.
According to a report from Radio New Zealand (RNZ), close to 70% of the 416 pilot whales stranded at the island's Golden Bay had died on Friday.
Members of the Coast Guard, along with approximately 300 volunteers, are trying to keep the remaining beached whales alive by placing blankets on them to keep them damp and cool, and by dousing them with buckets of water as they wait for the tide to rise.
The volunteers are maintaining shifts in the area to help prevent the whales from swimming back ashore.
'Huge efforts are being made to send them back into the water'
It's as of yet still unknown why the pilot whales are getting stranded on the deserted shore of Farewell Spit, according to Andrew Lamason, the head of New Zealand's Department of Conservation (DoC)'s Golden Bay operation.
Huge efforts are being made by official and volunteer workers to save the close to 100 remaining pilot whales, said Lamason.
Department of Conservation community ranger Kath Inwood spoke of the need for people to remain resilient and do what needs to be done, admitting that seeing so many dead whales can be quite distressing.
'To save one sick whale's life'
While it so far remains unknown why the whales are stranding themselves onshore, specialists posit two theories that explain the phenomenon, one of which is that they're chasing prey too far inshore. The other is the whales are trying to protect a sick member of the group.
New Zealand has one of the highest rates of whale strandings in the world, and Friday's event is the nation's third largest recorded stranding. In 2009, close to 100 pilot whales died after becoming stranded on Chatham Islands.