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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
Orca

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)

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New Zealand Bans Use of Single-Use Plastic Bags

Single-use plastic shopping bags are defined as any plastic bag which has handles and is less than 70 microns thick

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plastic bags
Plastic shopping bags in the fruit and vegetable section and other areas of supermarkets are the only exemption. Wikimedia Commons

Single-use plastic bags have been officially banned for all New Zealand retailers from Monday. As stipulated by the Waste Minimisation (Plastic Shopping Bags) Regulations 2018, which came into force on Monday, New Zealand retailers including stores, supermarkets and restaurants will no longer be able to sell or distribute any single-use plastic shopping bags, reports Xinhua news agency.

Single-use plastic shopping bags are defined as any plastic bag which has handles and is less than 70 microns thick. Plastic shopping bags in the fruit and vegetable section and other areas of supermarkets are the only exemption.

plastic bags
Businesses were given six months ahead of the ban to phase-out single-use plastic bags. Wikimedia Commons

New Zealand Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage said that the ban on single-use plastic shopping bags is a step towards healthier oceans and giving nature a hand.

ALSO READ: Greenpeace Asks for Ambitious Measures from G20 Group to Tackle The Plastic Waste Crisis

“New Zealanders are proud of our country’s clean, green reputation and want to help ensure we live up to it. The plastic shopping bag ban is one step to tackle New Zealand’s waste issues. We also need to recharge our materials recovery and recycling systems and shift to a circular economy,” Sage said.

Mainstream supermarkets have already made the change away from single-use plastic shopping bags. Businesses were given six months ahead of the ban to phase-out single-use plastic bags. (IANS)