97 PILOT WHALES, 3 DOLPHINS DIE AFTER MASS STRANDING ON NZ REMOTE BEACH
A total of 97 pilot whales and three dolphins died after a mass stranding on a remote beach in New Zealand, the country's Conservation Department said, Kyodo News reported.
The department said it became aware of the stranding in the Chatham Islands -- an archipelago roughly 800 kilometers east of New Zealand's South Island -- on Sunday.
However, due to the remoteness of the location, rangers said once they reached the beach several hours later, most of the mammals had already died.
"Only 26 of the whales were still alive at this point, the majority of them appearing very weak, and were euthanized due to the rough sea conditions and almost certainty of there being great white sharks in the water which are brought in by a stranding like this," the department's Biodiversity Ranger Jemma Welch said in a statement.
Two more whales stranded Monday also had to be euthanized.
According to the department, mass strandings are "reasonably common" on the Chatham Islands with up to 1,000 animals dying in a single incident in 1918.