Pilot Whales, Coromandel

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Lifting Equipment

Although every effort is made to refloat and release stranded cetaceans at the location where they came ashore, occasionally it is necessary to relocate them.  This may be due to inclement weather and sea conditions or the safety of both animals and rescuers.
In the event that they have to be transported it is a priority for Whale Rescue to ensure that the animals are given the maximum chance of survival and as safety is always a priority (for both whales and personnel), in order to facilitate this, it was necessary to redesign the specialist equipment.


Upon completion, these newly designed lifting mats and frames were load-tested to meet stringent requirements.  Given that most mass strandings involve pilot whales, the Whale Rescue lifting mats were designed with the maximum weight known for these cetaceans (i.e., 3,600 kg) and the final rating given to the mats was 4,000 kg lifting weight (tested).

The mats are constructed of UV-resistant PVC fabric, reinforced with nylon webbing in both the weft and weave directions.  The attachment points are load tested marine-grade stainless steel rings which allow the strops to be attached to the custom made specifically designated ‘lifting frame’, via quick-release carabineers.  The frames are completely collapsible for ease of transport to the rescue site.


Currently Whale Rescue has funded 10 lifting mats and one frame.  We have placed these lifting mats in strategic locations around Northland to ensure that the Department of Conservation and Whale Rescue has immediate access to them for immediate responses to cetaceans in need.  Our ultimate goal is to have more lifting frames and mats at whale stranding ‘hot-spots’ around New Zealand.  Please see our Virtual Gifts section for more details on supporting the fundraising for this vital equipment.