Over 120 whales died after they got stranded in the Pacific Ocean on the Chatham Islands. Three dolphins and 97 pilot whales died, according to the New Zealand Department of Conservation (DOC).

Source: VESA Channel/Youtube

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The Chatham Islands are part of New Zealand but lie over 800 km away. Because of the distance and the remoteness of the islands, authorities were delayed in helping the stranded animals. The Chatham Islands are whale stranding “hot spot.”

DOC biodiversity ranger Jemma Welch said some of the whales “were euthanised 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.”

Sam Wild, a wildlife photographer, captured the sad scene.

 

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A post shared by Sam Wild (@saminthewild_)

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Scientists think that navigation issues, geography, falling tides, predators, or extreme weather all play a role in whale stranding in the area. They also note that climate change affects whales’ prey and forces them and the whales into shallow water, where they can get stuck.

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Read more about whales in One Green Planet, including the two beluga whales brought to a sanctuarymilitary sonar exercise linked to beached whaleshypersonic weapons testing affecting killer whalesover 100 beached whales saved by rescuers; whales, dolphins, and porpoises face unprecedented risk of extinction;  and humpback whale trapped in fishing gear.

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