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New Zealand beach turns into a whale grave
Around a week ago, a New Zealand beach became a distressing grave site when hundreds of pilot whales became stranded on it and many of them died.
The New Zealand the Department of Conservation (DOC) confirmed that more than 600 pilot whales became stranded on the Farewell Spit at the tip of the South Island. Hundreds of volunteers worked with DOC workers to save the whales, but they could save only half of them. More than 300 whales died at the beach.
Later DOC workers and volunteers cut holes into the whale carcasses to release internal gases that build up pressure during decomposition and often lead to explosion. The cutting of holes into the carcasses was an attempt to prevent them from exploding.
A DOC spokesperson said at the time, "[workers] are cutting holes in the whale carcasses, like popping balloons, with knives and two meter (six feet) needles, to release internal gases that build up pressure."
The precise cause of the deadly whale stranding at the beach remains is yet to be determined.
The notorious Farewell Spit is often called a whale trap. The largest whale stranding in the nation's recorded history took place in 1918, when more than 1,000 whales got struck on the Chatham Islands.
A report published by Michael Cropp on Radio NZ said, "Ten minutes into walking down the beach and I begin to understand why the locals nod about the name Farewell Spit. When I arrive, the beach is covered in whales' blood and scrape marks left by the diggers that moved them."