Volunteers desperately trying to save 100 surviving whales that have beached on Farewell Spit are being warned about the risk of sharks in the water.
February 10, 2017 – Volunteers desperately trying to save 100 surviving whales that have beached on Farewell Spit are being warned about the risk of sharks in the water.
A hundred whales have been found beached on Farewell Spit this morning following yesterday’s mass stranding in which hundreds more have already died.
Meanwhile, 200 more whales have stranded on Farewell Spit 11km from the scene of yesterday’s mass beaching, according to DoC.
Whale rescue organisation Project Jonah said the latest strandings were discovered after volunteers returned to the beach at first light today.
Officials are now warning volunteers about the risks of sharks which attacked the whale carcases last night. There are fears they will be attracted to large amounts of blood in the water.
“We do have some concerns there could be sharks in there, we’ve put an extra boat in the water.
“One of the carcasses had bites that were consistent with sharks,” said DoC area manager Andrew Lamason.
He could not confirm for sure if there were sharks in the water but said DoC was keeping an eye on the situation.
There are also concerns about stingrays in the water and fears the surviving whales could suffer blistering in the hot weather conditions today.
A spokeswoman told the Herald it was not clear yet whether the whales had re-stranded or if they were different whales to the more than 400 which beached yesterday in one of the country’s worst ever mass strandings.
Department of Conservation spokesman Herb Christophers said DoC was also uncertain at this stage whether the 100 whales were the same creatures that were refloated yesterday at high tide.
“There are volunteers heading out to care for the whales on the beach, and keep them comfortable,” he said.