You are here: HomeRescues → 2011, February 04, Pilot whales, Puponga, Farewell Spit

Our Whale Rescue Crew team members Wendy Turner and Kerry O'Brien headed down to Golden Bay to help with a multi-day rescue of a large group of pilot whales.  The head-count suggested that there were 84 whales at the initial stranding on the 4th of February, when they were discovered just after lunch by a member of the public.  Department of Conservations current policy in the Golden Bay area, to remove all rescue personnel during the hours of darkness meant that the whales were unattended during the night.  The whales had refloated, but remained disorientated during the night and attempted to restrand at Pakawau, kilometres away from their initial stranding site near Puponga.

Working closely with the Department of Conservation volunteers managed to avert this second stranding by encouraging the whales to head back out to sea, however as the group split into two it became harder to control them and eventually all three groups restranded at various locations across the Golden Bay beaches.

Eventually 67 whales were saved and the pod was spotted by plane at least 250 miles offshore from Farewell Spit and in the safety of the open ocean.

Rescue Images
Quick Facts

Name Pilot whale, long-finned
Pilot whale, long-finned
Suborder Odontoceti
Family Delphinidae
Max. size - Male 6.7 m (21.9 ft)
Max. size - Female 5.7 m (18.7 ft)
Calf size 1.7-1.8 m (5.5-5.9 ft)
Max. weight - Male 2,300 kg
Max. weight - Female 1,300 kg
Calf weight 75 kg
Food primary food is squid, but known to take fish
Latin name Globicephala melas
Location Puponga, Farewell Spit
Latitude -40.52214
Longitude 172.74254
At this rescue

Wendy Turner

Wendy Turner

Wendy has attended multiple mass and individual strandings and is trained in stranding rescue techniques, including the use of refloatation Rescue Pontoons and other whale rescue equipment.


Location of Rescue

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