WELLINGTON, New Zealand, Aug. 20 (UPI) — Fifty-eight pilot whales have died after a mass stranding on a beach in northern New Zealand, wildlife officials say.
The 15 surviving whales were said to be in poor condition, the BBC reported Friday.
Forty people tried to move the 3,300-pound whales back into the water on Friday but failed. Conservation officials said more attempts would be made.
A plan was under way to move them about a half mile by transporter to a different bay where conditions are better and attempt to re-float them there, Kimberly Muncaster, chief executive of the Project Jonah whale group, said.
The pod is believed to have beached itself on the remote Karikari Beach sometime during the night Thursday.
Over the past 160 years, more than 5,000 whales and dolphins have been recorded stranded along the New Zealand coast.
The beachings are most common in the summer, when whales pass by on their migrations to and from Antarctic waters.
Scientists do not know what causes the phenomenon, the BBC said.
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