Farewell Spit closes to clear washed-up whale carcasses

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Wellington: The grim task of clearing hundreds of washed-up whale carcasses was under way in New Zealand with the beach closed over fears the bodies will fill with gas and explode as they decompose.

The sands at Farewell Spit where the nearly 700 pilot whales beached in one of the largest mass strandings ever in New Zealand were closed to the public after authorities declared the rotting bodies a health risk. The Department of Con­servation said yesterday the carcasses of more than 300 whales were being trucked to an inaccessible location where nature would be allowed to take its course.

Conservation spokesman Herb Christophers said dealing with so many dead pilot whales – each of which can be 6m – was a logistical challenge.

Before the whales were moved, conservation workers in bio-hazard suits punctured the carcasses in an attempt to stop them ballooning up with gas then popping.

“I’ve seen exploding whales, it’s not a pretty sight,” said Christophers.

Departmental ranger Amanda Harvey said many of the dead no longer resembled whales.

Source by: Internet

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