Scientists have an imprecise understanding of the obscure phenomenon of mass whale strandings.
a beach: illness or injury that leaves them at the mercy of ocean currents and strong waves; a sudden dart into a cold water to escape; even echolocation errors or confusion over falling tides, which can doom them.
But such beachings are mostly solo occurrences;
A hiker's grim discovery in New Zealand's Mason Bay over the weekend remains a heartbreaking mystery.
There were more than 140 immobile animals lying in a jagged line on the remote beach
Because of the remote location ̵
"Sadly, the likelihood of being able to successfully re-float the remaining whales was extremely low, "Ren Leppens, the Rakiura operations manager for the New Zealand Department of Conservation, said in a statement.
The remote location, lack of nearby pers onnel and the whales' deteriorating condition meant the most humane thing to do with euthanasia, "Leppens added. "However, it's always a heart-breaking decision to make."
Reflecting whales and dolphins can take many years of laboratory-intensive hours, of having an abundance of trained human resources and, in some cases, of special equipment. Experts recommend at least one person per animal just soothe a beached creature; even then, it's a dangerous undertaking.
"Whales may become agitated when stressed and may injure or even kill a human with a small flick of a whale tail or tail," according to New Zealand's Department of Conservation. 19659013 With the heart-rending decision to euthanize, the Mason Bay operation morphed from rescue to cleanup.
Pilot whales can grow 19 feet long and weigh more than three tons, a massive amount of decaying flesh.
Conservation authorities placed a "rahui," or restriction, over the.
Conservation authorities place a "rahui," or restriction, over the beach, according to the New Zealand Herald. The restriction, which has roots in Maori culture, has been made in place by the rest of the world. "
The agency said the restriction would remain in place
The beaching was New Zealand's largest since several hundred pilots were found in a place called Farewell Spit; Many of them were already dead, according to the Department of Conservation.
In that incident, authorities say, hundreds of pilot whales swam into a shallow bay, then got stuck in the waterway; It was one of the worst mass beachings in the country's history, despite attempts to save the animals.
500 volunteers draping towels over the marine mammals and pouring buckets of seawater on them before they could be refloated.
More than 400 whales were successfully refloated, the Department of Conservation said, but as many as 250 died.
The most recent beaching came on record in New Zealand, according to CNN. In 1918, about 1,000 whales stranded themselves on the Chatham Islands.
Since 1840, there have been more than 5,000 incidents of marine mammal strandings in New Zealand, so many of the Department of Conservation has published a special hotline to report them.
New Zealand Department of Conservation / AFP (Handout / AFP / Getty Images)
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