Stranded beaked whale dies
A stranded whale that was refloated by members of the public last week was later found dead on a Motueka beach.
On Friday, Project Jonah and the Department of Conservation were notified of a 4-5 metre long stranded whale on Jackett Island.
Project Jonah volunteer manager Louisa Hawkes said one of its trained medics noticed a discussion about the whale stranding on the Motueka Buy and Sell Facebook page.
‘‘It was a fantastic community effort with a sad outcome, but they should be proud of how they pulled together.’’
Hawkes said the whale was thought to be a Cuvier’s beaked whale, which typically lived in deeper waters.
It was thought the whale stranded early on Friday afternoon and it was refloated by members of the pubic but it came back into shore.
‘‘It is often the case when they do come in close to land that they have stranded for a reason and that is normally sickness.’’
Project Jonah were notified and liaised with local Department of Conservation staff and some of the people who were with the whale, to advise them on what to do.
‘‘The advice we give at whale strandings is to help restore the equilibrium of the whale, when they are stranded on land they can often get quite disoriented, so by rocking it from side to side it helps the whale to regain its balance.’’
After it was refloated, the whale swam out into deeper water, followed by a few boats.
‘‘The last report on Friday around 10pm was that it was swimming strongly out the channel.’’
However, the whale was found dead on the beach on Saturday morning.
‘‘It is a really unfortunate end to what looked like a really positive situation but what it has done is strengthen the community.’’
Hawkes said those involved with the stranding had supported each other through hope, panic and celebration fol- lowed by disappointment and sadness.
She said the community needed to be congratulated for coming together to give the whale ‘‘every chance possible’’.
Department of Conservation Motueka operations manager Chris Golding said access to the stranding site was difficult and DOC was considering whether to move the whale to a different location to reduce the risk to boaties.
He said a ‘‘big thanks’’ was in order for the Jackett Island locals and Project Jonah volunteers who assisted with refloating the whale on Friday.
The Cuvier’s beaked whale that stranded on Jackett Island and later died.