20 Jan 2013

Refloated whale strands again and is shot

7:00 pm on 20 January 2013

A stranded whale refloated by rescuers on Sunday from a Southland beach has been killed by Department of Conservation workers after becoming stranded again on the sand.

The 8m beaked whale was successfully re-floated from Omaui beach near Invercargill after first washing ashore on Saturday afternoon.

But the whale advocacy group Project Jonah says it beached itself again early on Sunday afternoon.

DoC says the animal was very weak and the tide was falling rapidly.

The workers decided at about 3pm that shooting the whale was the most humane thing to do.

The animal will be left on the beach and local iwi have the right to claim its bones

Department of Conservation (DoC) spokesperson Andy Roberts says the whale was in poor condition and had little strength.

The initial rescue required a team of about 20 people to work for 40 minutes to propel it into the water.

Mr Roberts says DoC received a lot of support from residents, holidaymakers, the local iwi and Project Jonah, a group dedicated to caring for whales.

On Wednesday, a sperm whale, nearly 15 metres long, washed up dead on Paraparaumu Beach. DoC biodiversity ranger Brent Tandy said it appeared the whale was mature and died of natural causes.