By: Maria Vargas
On February 13th 2015, around 200 pilot whales were stranded on New Zealand’s South Island. Nearly two dozen of the whales died while the other ones received help from rescuers and volunteers to safely return back into deeper waters. South Island has shallow waters making it hard to navigate for pilot whales. Typically during the summer, a large herd of Pilot Whales get stranded on these beaches. Pilot Whales tend to travel in packs, so if one gets left behind, chances are that the entire herd will as well. These whales inhabit all around the world and can get as big as orcas. Rescuing Pilot Whales requires advanced equipment such as heavy movers, slings, or cranes. “Time is of the essence,” therefore if rescuers fail to push these creatures into the water they will suffer a slow and painful death. At this point, many rescuers and volunteers seek for faster and less painful alternatives to facilitate the death of Pilot Whales such as drugs or explosive charges.