New Zealand Euthanizes 48 Beached Whales

Conditions had left little hope for the creatures
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 21, 2011 2:39 PM CST
New Zealand Euthanizes 48 Beached Whales
Two volunteers look over dead pilot whales in an earlier stranding at Colville Bay, New Zealand, Sunday, Dec. 27, 2009. New Zealand put down 48 beached pilot whales today.   (AP Photo/New Zealand Herald, Steven McNicholl)

Faced with a pod of 107 beached pilot whales, half of them dead, and no help in sight, New Zealand conservation authorities were forced to euthanize 48 of the creatures, reports the New Zealand Herald. The whales had beached themselves high up on the beach yesterday with the tide on the way out, the conservation department had but five staffers available, and more help was a half-day away—all of which left little choice.

"We were quickly aware that it would be at least 10 to 12 hours before we could attempt to refloat them and that given the hot, dry conditions many more would soon perish," says a spokesman. (More pilot whale stories.)

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