Tragedy at Farewell Spit By Aaron Hakes


Early in the morning on Friday, February 10th, 416 whales were found scattered across the beach on New Zealand's South Island. Hundreds of volunteers converged from around New Zealand to attempt to refloat the whales. The following morning another group of whales became beached. The rescuers refloated a large number of these whales and formed a human chain in the water to try prevent more whales from coming. Despite their efforts a new group came consisting of about 240 whales making this one of the largest strandings ever recorded. Because of the mass amount of beached whales on Farewell Spit it has been very hard for volunteers to successfully return them to the ocean. As a result about 20 of the whales were euthanized just on Friday alone. In total approximately 335 whales died, 220 are still alive but stranded and just 100 are safely in the sea. Experts have different theories of why the whales are beaching themselves such as chasing prey too far inshore or protecting sick members in their groups. However the main reason why whales are commonly found beached at Farewell Spit is because it’s a “whale trap”. It has a long protruding coastline and gently sloping beaches. These features make it difficult for whales to swim away once they get close. Officials don’t yet know they will dispose of the hundreds of whale carcasses. One option was tie them to a stake in the water and let them decompose.

Beached Whales


Beached - hauled up or stranded on a beach

Converge - come from different directions and meet at a place

Euthanized - put to death humanely

Protruding - sticking out; projecting

Carcass - the dead body of an animal

Pilot Whales

Pilot whales have round heads. They are either grey or black and they have a long stocky body. Females can grow to 16ft long and weigh 1.5 tons. Males can grow to be 20ft long and weigh 3 tons. They eat mainly squid but if no squid is available they will eat animals such as octopus, cuttlefish, herring and other small fish. They are very social animals. This trait makes also makes them very vulnerable. Despite constant beachings pilot whales aren't considered endangered.

Pilot Whale

Places of Interest

My first place of interest is the Bay of Islands. The Bay of Islands is one of New Zealand's most visited tourist attractions. It has beautiful scenery, fresh seafood and year round warm weather. At the Bay of Islands you can fish, kayak, sail and much more. It is also home to some very interesting historical places such as the Mission House and the Waiting Treaty Grounds.

My second place of interest is Auckland. Auckland was discovered over 650 years ago. It is New Zealand's largest city. It has been rated the 3rd most livable city in the world because of its multicultural cuisine, music, art and culture. In Auckland you can hike, boat and go to the beach.

My third place of interest is Milford Sound. Milford Sound was created by glaciers long ago. It is known for its steep and beautiful waterfalls. At Milford Sound you can enjoy the scenery by going on cruises, helicopter flights or simply by hiking the area.

My last place of interest is the Waitomo Glowworm Cave. This caves was formed by an earthquake fault. It was first explored in 1887 and was opened to tourists just 2 years later. It has 2 levels 16 meters apart from each other. It also has multiple special rooms such as the Cathedral and the Tomo.


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