Skip to content Dozens of whales strand at notorious New Zealand bay

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Rescuers scramble to save 49 long-finned pilot whales at Farewell Spit Bay, the scene of at least 10 pilot whale strandings in the past 15 years.

Rescuers were racing on Monday to save dozens of pilot whales that beached on a stretch of New Zealand coast notorious for mass strandings, wildlife officials said.

The Department of Conservation (DOC) said the pod of 49 long-finned pilot whales was found early on Monday at Farewell Spit, about 90 kilometres (55 miles) north of the South Island tourist town of Nelson.

Farewell Spit is a 26-kilometre hook of sand that protrudes into the sea at Golden Bay.

Scientists are unsure about why the beach is so deadly, although one theory is that the spit creates a shallow seabed in the bay that interferes with the whales’ sonar navigation systems.

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