Saturday December 15, 2018
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5.8 magnitude severe earthquake jolts New Zealand

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

A severe intensity earthquake, measuring 5.8 on the richter scale has hit the New Zealand’s South Island today.

The tremor centred 30 km north-west of Wanaka town was of a severe intensity, according to GeoNet, the island country’s earthquake monitoring agency.

The quake was followed by two aftershocks of intensity 3.5M and 3.1M around the Wanka town, the agency reported.

Though tremors were also felt as far as the capital city of Wellington,  due to the distance from populated centres, it is not expected to cause extensive damage.

The quake comes in the backdrop of the massive 7.9 magnitude earthquake that jolted Nepal on April 25, killing more than 7,000 people. The landlocked nation still has not fully recovered from the calamity.

 

 

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After Being Stranded, 145 Pilot Whales Die In New Zealand

Marine mammals are frequently stranded on New Zealand's coasts and the average number of operations carried out by environmental officials is about 85 per year

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Pilot whales
Pilot whales. Flickr

About 145 pilot whales died in New Zealand after being stranded during the weekend on Stewart Island in the extreme south of the country, officials said on Monday.

A hiker alerted authorities on Saturday night about the situation of the whales, who were stranded in Mason Bay in two separate groups about two kilometers apart, a Department of Conservation of New Zealand release said.

Pilot whales
Almost 150 whales die in mass stranding. BBC

Half of the whales were dead when rescuers arrived and the condition of the rest, by the time they were found, was so bad it was decided to euthanise them, said Ren Leppens, operations manager at Rakiura.

“Sadly, the likelihood of being able to successfully re-float the remaining whales was extremely low. The remote location, lack of nearby personnel and the whales’ deteriorating condition meant the most humane thing to do was to euthanise,” said Leppens.

Pilot whales
A volunteer looks after a whale, part of a pod of stranded pilot whales.

Pilot whales, also called long-finned pilot whale, are a specimen with a bulging forehead and a robust body that can reach between six and seven meters in length, Xinhua news agency reported.

Also Read: The Ocean And Its Climate Crisis

Marine mammals are frequently stranded on New Zealand’s coasts and the average number of operations carried out by environmental officials is about 85 per year, most of them to save these animals individually.

The reasons why whales and dolphins can become stranded have not been clarified, although it is attributed to diseases, navigation errors, sudden changes in tides, being chased by predators or extreme weather conditions. (IANS)