28 whales, 3 dolphins euthanized after mass stranding in New Zealand

In total, 97 pilot whales and three dolphins died in the stranding.

November 25, 2020, 5:53 PM

One hundred marine mammals have died after a mass stranding on remote beaches in New Zealand.

The animals washed up on Rekohu, Wharekauri and Chatham islands, according to a statement from the New Zealand Department of Conservation.

Wildlife officials were notified of the strandings on Sunday afternoon -- 28 of 97 pilot whales and three dolphins among those that died were euthanized due to rough seas and the presence of great white sharks, which were attracted to the area due to the strandings, Jemma Welch, a biodiversity ranger for the department, said in a statement on Wednesday.

PHOTO: Whales are seen stranded on the beach in Chatham Islands, New Zealand, in this drone picture obtained from social media on Nov. 24, 2020.
Whales are seen stranded on the beach in Chatham Islands, New Zealand, in this drone picture obtained from social media on Nov. 24, 2020.
SAMINTHEWILD/Instagram via Reuters

Biologists determined that the animals still alive appeared "very weak," and the remote location and a nearby power outage made it too difficult to provide additional assistance, Welch said.

A karakii/karakia ceremony was performed to honor the spirit of the whales, which will be left to decompose naturally.

PHOTO: Whales are seen stranded on the beach in Chatham Islands, New Zealand, in this drone picture obtained from social media on Nov. 24, 2020.
Whales are seen stranded on the beach in Chatham Islands, New Zealand, in this drone picture obtained from social media on Nov. 24, 2020.
SAMINTHEWILD/Instagram via Reuters

In September, nearly 400 pilot whales died in a mass stranding in multiple locations off the west coast of Tasmania, Australia.

Strandings in that location are not unheard of, Australian wildlife officials said at the time.

ABC News' Zoe Magee and Christine Theodorou contributed to this report.

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