About 100 whales have died off the coast of remote islands in the Pacific Ocean after a massive stranding incident. According to the New Zealand Department of Conservation (DOC), staff were alerted to the stranding at noon on 22 November and arrived there at 3 pm, where they caught 97 pilot whales and three dolphins at Waitangi West Beach in the Chatham Islands.
“Only 26 at whales still survived in this area, most of them seemed very weak and were cleared by the rough sea conditions and the almost certainty of having white sharks in the water, which were brought in by a stranding. It’s like that, “DOC Biodiversity Ranger Jemma Welch said in a statement.
Twenty-six pilot whales were still alive, but they had to be honored by the crew because of their extreme weakness.
Despite rare sightings of whales and dolphins, the area is a hot spot for sperm whales, baked whales, and various dolphin species, as well as pilot whales. In 1918, the largest whale stranding in New Zealand history took place on these islands, killing more than a thousand people on the beach.
Whale strands have increased in frequency in recent years, but researchers are still unable to determine the exact cause. This mass stranding follows Australia’s largest whaling strand on record in September, with more than 450 whales stranded in Tasmania.
The Chatham Islands is an archipelago of 10 islands about 800 kilometers (500 miles) off the coast of New Zealand that attracts about 600 rich inhabitants to the rich food resources that exist around the islands, making many species of marine life their habitat in the Chatham Islands.
A possible explanation is climate change driving food sources near the coast, where whale pods can take a wrong turn or get stuck. Climate change-triggered events such as higher waves may induce whales to think of their innate navigation systems as being more from shore than they are.
Whale strands are not uncommon in New Zealand, with around 300 people trapped each year. Although the exact cause remains unknown, the growth of stranding is not good for some endangered whale species, and understanding how they occur is important in future conservation efforts.