A Mass Stranding Left Hundreds Of Whales Dead But Volunteers Acted Selfishly To Save Who They Could

A sad week turned around with a sort of happy ending.

A Mass Stranding Left Hundreds Of Whales Dead But Volunteers Acted Selfishly To Save Who They Could
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In New Zealand, hundreds of pilot whales recently died after one of the largest mass strandings in history. Scientists are still baffled as to why hundreds of whales would swim themselves onto the shore. 

It's always sad to see these types of unexplained occurrences, but there's a silver lining in this case. Volunteers ran to the beach and worked tirelessly to save as many of the whales as possible. 

At the end of the day, dozens of whales were returned to their watery home.

In early February, hundreds of beached whales appeared on Farewell Spit.

In early February, hundreds of beached whales appeared on Farewell Spit.

On February 10th, a pod of over 400 pilot whales beached themselves overnight. 75 percent of the whales had died by the time a medical rescue team appeared.

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Another pod showed up days after the first rescue effort.

Another pod showed up days after the first rescue effort.
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Volunteers were able to send around 100 initial survivors back to sea, but 240 more whales showed up just a few days later.

Watering the whales was crucial to their survival.

Watering the whales was crucial to their survival.
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Volunteers poured water over surviving whales until the high tide arrived, making it easier to push the sea creatures back into the water.

A record-setting rescue effort was achieved.

A record-setting rescue effort was achieved.
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Many of the whales in the second stranding were able to swim back into the sea after the high tide rolled in.

The cause of the stranding is still unknown.

The cause of the stranding is still unknown.
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Experts don't know exactly why these mass strandings occur, but they are working tirelessly to figure out why these events occur.

Disorientation and confusion is a likely culprit.

Disorientation and confusion is a likely culprit.
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Experts think disorientation could be the source, as well as confusion experienced while whales are trying to protect injured pod members.

The rescue was a painful process.

The rescue was a painful process.
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"You could hear the sounds of splashing, of blowholes being cleared, of sighing," a volunteer told the Associated Press.

Heartbreaking Rescues

Heartbreaking Rescues
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"The young ones were the worst. Crying is the only way to describe it." Despite that painful reminder of the situation, rescuers continued to help the whales until they could return to the sea.

A human chain was formed to protect the whales.

A human chain was formed to protect the whales.
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After pushing the whales back to water, volunteers formed a human chain to keep the whales from returning to the beach.

If you want to help there is an organization you can join.

If you want to help there is an organization you can join.
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There are over 80 strandings on New Zealand beaches each year. If you'd like to contribute to the rescue groups that help save these whales, visit Project Jonah's website!

Isn't it a great effort done by the rescuers?