Awhale that stranded at Farewell Spit died before the high tide could reach it, despite the efforts of volunteers.
The Sei whale, estimated to be 17 metres long, was beached around 1km from the high water mark and it was hoped the whale would be able to refloat itself when the tide was at its peak, around 1.30am last night.
General manager of the Kiwi whale saving organisation Project Jonah, Daren Grover, told the Herald that the whale died around 10pm last night.
Grover said the Department of Conservation would now work with iwi on a blessing before decisions were made on how to bury the whale.
He said it was hard to tell why the whale beached itself without a necropsy but that a stranding usually indicated an underlying problem of some sort but added that it could be old and “taken it’s last few breaths on the shore”.
“For a whale this big to come to shore and strand that indicates it is very likely there is an underlying health problem within it, whether that be an illness or an injury,” Grover said.
Grover said that any whale death was tough on people who went out to save the animalsand added that Project Jonath always reminded volunteers to prepare themselves for this tragic outcome and to seek support.
He said that human input could “make a difference in the last few hours of this animal’s life”.
“People were caring for it, removing some stress from it so it’s just an urge we have in ourselves, people just want to help”.
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