No whales were stranded when Doc inspected the beach this morning and staff were meeting this morning to figure out how to dispose of the 300 to 350 decomposing carcasses.
Late Saturday afternoon, when rescuers believed the situation to be under control, about 240 whales moved around a small flotilla of boats and a human chain of rescuers standing in the water trying to herd them away. More than 500 people worked for days to help save as numerous stranded whales as they could.
The devastating mass stranding event that saw more than 650 pilot whales beach themselves in New Zealand over the weekend is finally over, with 17 survivors making it back to a large pod of more than 200 individuals seen 6 km (3.7 miles) offshore.
Dr Rochelle Constantine, a marine biologist at the University of Auckland told the BBC that the shallow waters around Farewell Spit may have caused the whales to beach.
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"This is the third worst stranding that we've recorded in our history so it's a very large one". "They've been singing songs to them, giving them specific names, treating them as kindred spirits". The animals can reach up to 60 years old.
This picture taken on February 11, 2017 shows a volunteer caring for a pilot whale during a mass stranding at Farewell Spit.
Volunteers at Farewell Spit worked to keep the stranded whales wet. Volunteers successfully refloated the 17 that were still stranded the next day.
As for what will happen to them once the explosion risk is subdued, it's not yet clear, but the DOC announced this morning that they'll likely move the carcasses further up Farewell Spit to the area of the nature reserve that is not open to the public. Workers spent most of Monday cutting holes in their bodies to prevent them from exploding as they decomposed, and the area was closed to the public, according to Reuters.