NZ Shoots 33 Whales It Couldn't Rescue

After 2 rescue attempts, officials say nothing more to do for restranded whales
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 26, 2012 2:00 AM CST
33 Restranded Whales to Be Killed
In this Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2012, photo provided by Project Jonah, stranded whales are helped by volunteers at Farewell Spit on New Zealand's South Island.   (AP Photo/Project Jonah)

The 33 pilot whales that beached themselves again on the New Zealand coast today have been shot, the AP reports, after conservation officials decided there was nothing more they could do for the creatures. About 99 whales were stranded Monday on a South Island spit notorious for whale beachings. Volunteers helped them back into the water, but the pod stranded again yesterday. Rescuers floated the whales into the ocean again, only for many of the surviving whales to beach a third time.

“Unfortunately the stranded whales are now also further along the spit and on the extreme boundary of our ability to reach them for another rescue attempt,” the head of the rescue team said earlier. The AP notes that of the 99 whales, 36 died naturally during the week and 17 were successfully refloated; the whereabouts of 13 are unknown. (Read more whales stories.)

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