None of the five whales that were refloated are believed to have survived.
No whales are believed to have survived the mass stranding at Farewell Spit.
The Jonah Project’s general manager, Daren Grover, said two pilot whales were found dead along the Farewell Spit this morning.
These are believed to be the two whales that were refloated yesterday, Grover said. He said of the five who were found alive and rescued, three were later euthanized by the Department of Conservation (DOC).
None of the five whales that were refloated on Friday are believed to have survived.
* DOC, Jonah Project doctors refloat surviving whales after they were stranded
* No signs of grounding after whales floated a second time
* Relief as stranded pilot whales refloated for the second time head out to sea
Nina Hindmarsh / Stuff
Volunteers work to keep stranded whales alive after they were stranded at Farewell Spit in February 2021. (Video posted February 2021)
A DOC spokeswoman said rangers conducted an early morning sweep at low tide this morning and found two dead whales about 1 mile apart.
She said it was unclear if these two whales were part of the group that was bailed out yesterday.
Of the five whales refloated yesterday, two were euthanized. An additional whale was found and was euthanized. It was unclear if it was one of the five whales refloated.
DOC Tākaka’s director of operations, Dave Winterburn, said when a whale was euthanized it was for the welfare of the animal, as it was in poor condition and was not going to survive.
“Decisions to euthanize beached whales are not taken lightly and euthanasia is practiced when it is a humane course of action.”
Grover said that after their hard work throughout the day yesterday, the members of the Jonah Project team will be in a lot of pain this morning.
The two whales found this morning are said to have been brought up to the reserve at the top of Farewell Spit and anchored in the intertidal zone.
Winterburn said the DOC received a report of the grounding around 6 p.m. Thursday evening.
Rangers were dispatched to the site, but a rising tide and nighttime conditions prevented them from staying overnight. A total of 36 beached whales, seven of which were alive when rangers left the site.
On Friday morning, 34 whales were found at the site, five of which were alive.
Department of Conservation rangers and Project Jonah medics managed to refloat five pilot whales at high tide at 11 a.m. Friday.
Sadly, a newly stranded pilot whale was later found several miles away on Triangle Flat at the base of Farewell Spit. He was then euthanized.
“It’s unclear if this is one of the five that were bailed out,” Winterburn said. “There is also a deceased pilot whale at this site.”
One of the five pilot whales released was also found stranded later the same day.
DOC was working with Manawhenua Ki Mohua to ensure that deceased whales were handled appropriately.