More than 300 whales found dead on NZ beach

Stranded pilot whales are seen on the beach in Golden Bay New Zealand after one of the country's largest recorded mass whale strandings on Friday in this still frame taken from video

An effort to refloat about 130 whales earlier in the day had only partial success, with about 50 whales seen swimming in the bay off Farewell Spit, on the country's South Island. We're going to give these whales the best chance we can.

Rescuers help save the only whale still alive that was stranded on Opoutere Beach, near Whangamata, November 30th, 2004.

The next opportunity to save the remaining whales is scheduled for noon tomorrow (Saturday) when the tide comes in.

Old whales may find it hard to keep up with their pod or resist heavy swells or inshore currents. It had been hoped they would re-float naturally and swim back to sea at high tide, about 11.30pm.

They commonly live with families in pods of approximately 20 to 100 members, but the groups can grow into much larger numbers, according to New Zealand's DOC.

Golden Bay is a lethal spot for pilot whales. 250 to 300 are already dead, according to the Department of Conservation.

Hundreds of whales have died overnight on a New Zealand beach after a mass stranding thought to be the largest in decades. But, they failed to save many.

In 1918 about 1,000 pilot whales were stranded on the Chatham Islands, according to Constantine. It is one of the worst whale beachings in the history of New Zealand, reports BBC. "They've never been on a beach before". I understand they're concerned about people's welfare. The source futher added that this is not the first time that whales have re-stranded themselves. We do a little karakia, try and introduce ourselves.

A huge shout-out to all the conservation workers and volunteers at Farewell Spit right now, your dedication is so appreciated.

"You could hear the sounds of splashing, of blowholes being cleared, of sighing", Cheree Morrison, who found the whales told the Associated Press.

He said there were a "whole bunch of reasons" why it wasn't safe for volunteers to remain after dark, including the risk of shark attack. "If one is sick, the rest follow, then geological conditions take over, so it could be a combination of whale disorientation and social bonding that causes these strandings", she says.

Farewell Spit in New Zealand.

Every year, up to 2,000 animals beach themselves.

"The carnage at the top of the beach, that's out of mind, just that volume of animals".

In total, more than 400 whales stranded yesterday and 300 have already died.

Images uploaded to Facebook show volunteers with Project Jonah and DOC staff caring for the surviving whales. At that moment, people didn't really know what was happening and the story was still unfolding.

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