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Hundreds join effort to save dying whales

By Staff Reporter

A rescue operation is ongoing in New Zealand after over 400 pilot whales beached themselves.

About 300 stranded whales died on Thursday night at Farewell Spit, on the South Island, with hundreds of locals and conservation officers trying to rescue the survivors since early yesterday. They formed a human chain to refloat the whales.

Scientists do not know what exactly causes whales to beach themselves. But it sometimes happens because the whales are old and sick, injured, or make navigational errors, particularly along gently sloping beaches.

Andrew Lamason, the conservation department's regional manager, said it was one of the largest mass beachings ever recorded in New Zealand.

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