Thursday, January 24, 2008

Whales beach in NZ

At least 15 pilot whales died and another 18 were in danger after stranding on an isolated New Zealand beach, authorities said Wednesday.Six whales were initially found stranded Wednesday morning at Farewell Spit on the northwest of the South Island, and three died while the remainder were refloated, said Department of Conservation spokeswoman Trish Grant.A larger pod of up to 30 were found nearby, of which 12 to 15 had died with about as many milling close to shore, Grant said.The surviving whales were being monitored and there was a concern they could also become stuck on the beach."It all depends on which way the whales start to move," Grant said, adding that the whales would be in most danger at low tide.Rough seas and strong winds were hampering attempts to keep a watch on the four to six metre (13 to 19 feet) long whales.Whale strandings have been common in the area and about two years ago 25 pilot whales died after a pod of 129 beached at Farewell Spit.

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