Up to 145 pilot whales have died in a mass stranding in a remote part of New Zealand, with authorities saying Monday they made the “heart-breaking” decision to euthanise dozens that lay stricken on the shore.
The stranding was discovered by a hiker late Saturday on Stewart Island, 30 kilometres (19 miles) off the southern coast of the South Island.
Half of the whales were already dead and due to the condition of the remaining whales and the remote, difficult-to-access location, the decision was made to euthanise the remainder.
“Sadly, the likelihood of being able to successfully re-float the remaining whales was extremely low,” said Ren Leppens, the Department of Conservation’s operations manager on Stewart Island.
“The remote location, lack of nearby personnel and the whales’ deteriorating condition meant the most humane thing to do was to euthanise.
“However, it’s always a heart-breaking decision to make.”
It was one of four strandings discovered on New Zealand shores over the weekend which stretched DOC resources.
In the far north of New Zealand, eight pygmy killer whales were transported by truck to the east coast from the west where sea conditions were too rough to refloat them.
Two of the pod had to be euthanised, but Daren Grover of the marine conservation group Project Jonah said the remainder were saved by transporting them by road to the more-sheltered east coast 20 kilometres away.
“It’s highly stressful for the whales, but they’ll be using suitable padding to protect them,” he told Fairfax Media.
They were to be kept in a stream overnight and refloated at high tide on Tuesday morning.
There were two other whale strandings over the weekend in New Zealand, where beachings are relatively common with the conservation department responding to an average 85 incidents a year, mostly of single animals.
A sperm whale which beached in Doubtless Bay died overnight on Saturday, while the body of a dead female pygmy sperm whale was found at Ohiwa on the west coast of the North Island.
Exactly why whales and dolphins strand is not fully known but factors can include sickness, navigational error, geographical features, a rapidly falling tide, being chased by a predator, or extreme weather.
Saturday Night Live mocks Trump as an unpopular dork at high school after disastrous NATO Summit
NBC's "Saturday Night Live" on Saturday ridiculed President Donald Trump after he was laughed at by world leaders during a NATO Summit in London.
The skit featured Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and French President Emanuel Macron as the cool kids at the NATO cafeteria, while U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson attempts to join their cliche.
Trump asked to sit at their table, but they suggested he sit with Latvia.
They said the seat was for German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who was then invited to join the cool kids table.
The skit included Johnson taping an "impeach me" sign to Trump's back.
Watch a band in cow costumes sing about Devin Nunes at White House impeachment protest
Protesters clad in full-body furry costumes sang about Rep. Devin Nunes during a Saturday protest at the White House.
The protesters were dressed as cattle after the Fresno Republican sued a fake cow Twitter, @DevinCow.
The protesters changed the lyrics to the hit 1958 Chuck Berry song "Johnny B. Goode" to "Devin Nunes."
Video of the protested was posted to Twitter by Democratic strategist Parkhomenko, who was targeted by Nunes in one of his lawsuits.
The lyrics to the 1958 Champs song "Tequila" were changed to "subpoenas."
Shocking photos document the devastating flooding pummeling San Francisco
San Francisco was battered by a heavy winter storm on Saturday that caused localized flooding throughout the city.
"A low pressure system off the Northern California coast Saturday hurled bans of strong downpours into the Bay Area, triggering a flood warning for San Francisco," KPIX-TV reported.
"San Francisco Muni officials tweeted that train service between West Portal to Embarcadero Station had been shut down due to flooding. Several streets were flooded in San Francisco’s western neighborhood including knee-high water at 15th Ave and Wawona," the station noted.