No sign of whales on Farewell Spit; optimism that they’ve swum out to sea

News from DOC
A search of beaches by DOC rangers and Project Jonah members this morning has found no sign of the 45 pilot whales refloated off Puponga yesterday.

DOC Takaka Conservation Services Manager John Mason said this was an encouraging indication that the whales may have moved safely into deeper water and possibly out of Golden Bay.

“We have searched the area of Farewell Spit where they stranded over the weekend and the beaches between there and Collingwood and have not found the whales stranded on the beaches, which is good news.

“We are optimistic they may have swum out to sea but they could still be in the bay. If anyone does see the whales we ask them to call the DOC emergency number 0800 DOCHOT/0800 36 24 68 to let us know.”

Mr Mason said if the whales were still in the bay there was a risk they could re-strand.

Forty-six whales were refloated yesterday morning with the help of more than 100 volunteers, from Project Jonah and others who came from surrounding areas to assist. One of the whales was found dead this morning on Farewell Spit.

Mr Mason said DOC was extremely grateful for all the help given by Project Jonah volunteers and the dozens of other people who assisted with the whales over the past 3 days.

The whales were first found stranded on Saturday morning off Triangle Flat near the base of Farewell Spit. The whales were refloated around high tide on Saturday and then Sunday but each time re-stranded. Yesterday morning 49 whales were found stranded off Puponga, one of which was dead and another two died.

After the whales were refloated yesterday they had swum strongly out into deeper water but in the afternoon remained in fairly shallow water off Farewell Spit and were still there when rescuers left for the day.

Earlier News from DOC
DOC rangers have found one dead whale on Farewell Spit this morning. They are checking beaches in the area for any sign of the other 45 pilot whales refloated off Puponga yesterday in Golden Bay. We should know the outcome of that search after 8am.

When rescuers left the Farewell Spit area late yesterday the whales had been milling in shallow water offshore from the Spit for several hours.

Monday: 46 pilot whales refloated


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