More than 400 whales beach themselves in New Zealand

beached-pilot-whales
Beached pilot whales, New Zealand. Photo source: ©© Angieandsteeve
“Of all cetaceans – whales and dolphins – pilot whales are the species most likely to strand themselves. Their name itself, pilot whale, comes from their propensity to follow a single leader…” Captions: Philip Hoare, author of Leviathan or, The Whale

Excerpts;

New Zealand volunteers formed a human chain in the water at a remote beach on Friday as they raced to save dozens of whales after more than 400 of the creatures beached themselves in one of the worst whale strandings in the nation’s history.

About three-quarters of the pilot whales were already dead when they were found Friday morning at Farewell Spit at the tip of the South Island…

Read Full Article, CBS News (02-09-2017)

400 pilot whales stranded on New Zealand’s ‘whale trap’ beach; New Scientist (02-10-2017)
More than 400 pilot whales washed up on beaches at Farewell Spit on the South Island, a known black spot for whale standings. The reasons for beachings remain a mystery. Explanations range from marine noise pollution to suicides, and NASA is even investigating whether solar storms could mess with whales’ navigation. But geography could certainly be a factor, considering several known stranding blackspots share characteristics…

140 Whales Die After Getting Stranded On New Zealand Beach, AP / Huffington Green (02-15-2015)

Mass Strandings of Pilot Whales: A Study, Science Daily (03-14-2013)
Biologists since Aristotle have puzzled over the reasons for mass strandings of whales and dolphins, in which groups of up to several hundred individuals drive themselves up onto a beach…

Are humans to blame for mass whale strandings? by Philip Hoare, Guardian UK (05-201-2011)