Beached whales in New Zealand – level 3

20-02-2015 15:00

Stranded on a notorious stretch of coast in New Zealand, almost 200 Pilot Whales have beached themselves in a remote spit at the northern extreme of South Island and volunteers are working against the clock to save them.

Around 25 of the animals have already died and more are expected to, as rescuers struggle to refloat them.

“About a half seem to have gone into deeper water, but there was still a good number that were… They just didn’t get enough water under them.”

Mass whale beachings are common, but this case is thought to be the largest in a decade or more.

“A very large stranding of Pilot Whales, one of the largest strandings we’ve had in the last 20 years, actually.”

Pilot Whales grow up to 6 meters long and are the most common species of whale in New Zealand’s waters. Rescuers and volunteers will attempt to refloat the remaining whales at first light on Saturday.

Difficult words: stranded (to be stuck and unable to move), notorious (well-known for a bad reason), stretch (an area), spit (a narrow point of land), extreme (the farthest point of the island), volunteer (a person who does something without being paid for it), against the clock (to do something as soon as possible), struggle (to try hard against difficulties), refloat (to get back into deeper water to be able to float), decade (10 years), species (an animal kind), attempt (to try), first light (when the sun comes up).



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