50 more whales beach themselves on notorious New Zealand beach
Volunteers pour buckets of water over the 80 remaining live pilot whales found stranded on remote Ocean Beach on New Zealand's Stewart island, Jan. 8 2003 [AFP]

More than 50 pilot whales beached themselves Saturday on the same remote New Zealand coast where another 52 whales have either died or been put down in the past two weeks.


The Farewell Spit beach, at the top of the South Island, is a renowned death trap for whales.

Of the 53 whales in the latest stranding, 13 were dead and efforts were being made to refloat the remaining 40.

Regional department of conservation manager John Mason believes the whales were from the same pod herded out to sea after another stranding during the week.

Farewell Spit, about 150 kilometres (90 miles) from the tourist city of Nelson, is frequently the scene of mass strandings by pilot whales, with scientists unsure why they swim ashore in large groups.

[Image via Agence France-Presse]