Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 2 October 2014

Whales shot after rescue bid fails

Stranded pilot whales are helped by volunteers at Farewell Spit on New Zealand's South Island (AP)

Conservation staff in New Zealand have put down 33 stranded whales after several attempts to refloat them failed.

The pilot whales shot were the last of 99 that stranded themselves on Monday on Farewell Spit on the South Island.

Department of Conservation area manager John Mason said staff and hundreds of volunteers had tried all week to get the whales refloated.

He said they thought they were successful on Wednesday when they got the whales into deep water - but were later saddened to find that they had swum back ashore. He said the condition of the whales had significantly deteriorated.

As well as the 33 whales that were shot, 36 had died naturally since Monday and 17 were successfully refloated. Thirteen remain unaccounted for.

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