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Chatham Islands – Chatham Islands from space ISS 005 E 15265 – CC

More than 120 whales have died, as a mass stranding took place on the remote Chatham Islands in the Pacific Ocean.

Massive strandings in the remote Chatham Islands, some 800 kilometres (125 miles) off the east coast of New Zealand, have led to the deaths of 100 whales and dolphins.

The Chatham Islands belong to New Zealand, but they are located 800km east which has delayed the mission to conserve the animals.

The latest New Zealand Department of Environment, which first reported the incident at 12.30 on Sunday, said 97 pilot whales and three bottlenose dolphins had died.

Jemma Welch, a wildlife ranger for the DoC biodiversity program, said it was around three o’clock when rangers arrived on the scene at Waitangi West Beach because of the remote location and power outage that makes it more difficult to get in contact with the people.

“unlikely due to human activities in such a pristine location, but rather were likely driven by the nearshore movements of their prey and a tendency for those species to live in large groups”Prof Miller

Prof Miller also said he believed, as a result of human activity at such a pristine site, stranding of the Chatham Islands is “unlikely due to human activities in such a pristine location, but rather were likely driven by the nearshore movements of their prey and a tendency for those species to live in large groups”

The DoC says mass beaches in Chatham are relatively common, with as many as 1.000 animals dying from a single strand in 1918, the largest recorded in New Zealand waters.

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For all that strandings have been around the globe, as modern history unfolds, marine biologists have yet to know for sure why.

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