16 Nov '11, 2am
61 pilot whales die in mass stranding at New Zealand beach
WELLINGTON (AFP) - More than 60 pilot whales died in a mass stranding at a remote New Zealand beach, conservation officials said on Wednesday. Tourists found the pod of 61 beached whales on Monday at Farewell Spit, on the top of the South Island, the Department of Conservation (DOC) said. DOC local manager John Mason said a large number were already dead and hopes the survivors would refloat at high tide on Tuesday were dashed when the whales swam back to shore. He said 18 whales remained alive early on Wednesday and DOC staff decided to euthanise them, rather than prolong their suffering.