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Whales stranded on Farewell Spit

Thursday 15 Nov 2012 1:08 p.m.

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By 3 News online staff

The 16 survivors of a pod of 28 pilot whales stranded on Farewell Spit have been euthanised this afternoon.

Department of Conservation workers met with local iwi and Project Jonah about whether a rescue operation was possible for the survivors but decided to put the animals down.

The tide is on the way out so the next chance to refloat the pod would have been high tide just after midnight tonight.

One of the complicating factors is that they stranded on a very high spring tide.

The tides tonight and tomorrow are predicted to be not quite as high as this morning's tide when they stranded.

The whales are on a stretch of Farewell Spit around two kilometres north-east from the Spit Cafe.

Farewell Spit is the most notorious whale-stranding spot in New Zealand. Its slowly rising seabed and the hook of the spit commonly trap whales.

Pilot whales aren't actually whales - they're sometimes called blackfish and are members of the dolphin family, like orcas which are larger and often referred to as killer whales.

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