Tag Archive | pilot whales

Another 61 whales brutally slaughtered at ‘hunt event’, 490 killed since June, in Faroe Islands

This was the horrifying scene on a beach in the Faroe Islands yesterday
The carnage – which took place as 500 locals cheered – left Sandavagur Beach on the island of Vagur awash with gallons of whale blood.
It is the fifth slaughter of the season on the Faroes, which has seen 490 pilot whales killed on the archipelago since June.
Five members of Sea Shepherd conservation society – including British campaigner Lawrie Thomson – were arrested as they tried to stop the gruesome spectacle yesterday. 
Sea Sheperd founder Captain Paul Watson said: “Our boat, Echo, tried to turn the pod but were overwhelmed by numerous Faroese boats who drove the whales back to the beach.
“The barbarian thugs are now knifing the pod, blood is pouring into the seas and the killers are celebrating their savage tradition.”
Canadian-born Captain Watson, who was an influential member of Greenpeace before he formed Sea Shepherd, added: “Our land team leader was stopped by the police before she could reach the water.
“It’s a bloodbath and this island has already taken more whales than they can possibly use. They kill for the sake of killing, for the love of killing.”
The ‘grindadráps’ are non-commercial, community-organised whale hunts open to anyone with a certificate in slaughtering a whale with a spinal cord lance.
There is archaeological evidence dating Faroese whaling back more than a thousand years ago and drive hunts back to 1584. Whale meat and blubber have been an important part of the islanders’ diets but there has been growing international condemnation of the slaughter.
Campaigners gave a detailed account of the lastest grindadráp, describing how its crews had tried to defend the pilot whales and named the five members arrested as Rudy de Kieviet of the Netherlands, obias Boehm of Germany, Alice Bodin of Italy, and Frances Holtman of the United States – and Lawrie Thomson.
All five have had their passports confiscated and will be required to remain in the Faroe Islands until further notice.
A small Sea Shepherd boat had been patrolling the area and arrived as the whale pod of whales was being driven to the Sandavágur ‘killing beach’.
Campaigners said their boat managed to get between the hunting flotilla and the whales and despite being drastically outnumbered, managed to re-direct the pod which may have numbered as many as 200 individuals.
On shore, five Sea Shepherd volunteers ran into the sea and tried to save a group of 61 whales that the hunters had managed to drive to the beach, but within two hours of the start of the drive, all were dead.
Captain Alex Cornelissen, chief executive of Sea Shepherd Global, said: “Once again, our crew have been arrested by officers of the Danish police force, with the blessing of Denmark.
“How much longer can the government of Denmark continue its arrogant support of this bloody practice, which is in direct conflict with its commitments to international law?
“This is Denmark’s shame, and this is Denmark’s responsibility, and this government must be held accountable for its actions under the terms of the European Union.”
So far, 12 campaigners have been arrested on the Faroes as part of its Operation Sleppid Grindini, the sixth pilot whale defence campaign on the archipelago.
Last year we reported how protestors held the world’s biggest animal rights demonstration in opposition to the “barbaric” slaughter of dolphins in Japan.
Up to a thousand furious demonstrators gathered outside the Japanese embassy in London to protest the “atrocious” killing of up to 20,000 dolphins, whales and porpoises in the country every year.
The majority of the creatures – including several thousand at the notorious Taiji Cove – are killed for meat but some are captured for zoos and aquariums.
Courtesy of express.co.uk

250 Whales brutally slaughtered at ‘hunt event’ in Faroe Islands

The butchering is done. Photo / Eliza Muirhead / Sea Shepherd Global 
The butchering is done. Photo / Eliza Muirhead / Sea Shepherd Global
Their bodies lie beached on the dark shore, large slash marks penetrate the neck and sides of the whale as the blood mixes with the cold water.
Known as the grindadráp, the brutal slaughtering of pilots whales in the Danish owned Faroe Islands took place yesterday. As many as 250 whales were reportedly massacred on two beaches in Bøur and Tórshavn as locals used harpoons and knifes to hack the all of the pilot whales to death.
The horrific scenes were filmed by activists from Sea Shepherd, a non-profit, marine wildlife conservation organisation. 
As the innocent whales are forced to swim towards the beaches, the locals begin to run down from the jetty towards the sea.
Realising they are unable to escape, the whales slow down as the fishermen in their power boats and dinghies begin to close in on the large school of whales.
The locals, many of whom are dressed in full wetsuits and bobble hats, wade into the water and begin to violently drag the distressed animals up the beach.
Using an array of weapons, including sharp knives and harpoons, the locals begin to hack at the animals, slicing at their fatty necks and puncturing their sides.
The water quickly begins to turn red with all the blood as one by one, the whales are ruthlessly slaughtered by the heartless locals.
Courtesy of nzherald.co.nz

21 pilot whales stranded, 10 dead so far in Skye, Scotland, UK

Whales stranded on Staffin Island near Skye on June 2 2015. Uploaded June 2 2015. Free to use with credit.
Pilot whales: Mammals stranded on island near Skye – (Crown)
Nine whales have died and seven others are stuck on a beach after a mass stranding.
The pilot whales became trapped on the beach on the Isle of Skye at 4am on Tuesday.
Two of the 21 whales died before a British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) team were able to re-float them.
A pregnant female who was not expected to survive was euthanised after a local vet found her calf had died.
Shortly after their rescue, 16 whales re-stranded themselves on nearby Staffin Island. Four later died and two more were destroyed.
A BDMLR spokesman said: “Sixteen of the re-floated animals have re-stranded on Staffin Island itself and are being given first-aid by the BDMLR team. They are not in an easy position as have stranded awkwardly on rocks, meaning it is difficult to relieve the pressure on their bodies.
“Two more whales have been euthanised on the island.
“These two had been assessed by a vet and due to a poor prognosis from the effects of the initial stranding combined with those of the second stranding, was decided that the most humane outcome for the animals would be for their suffering to be ended.
“The vet was in no doubt that had they been refloated they would not have survived long.
“Each of the remaining seven animals are being assessed in the hope that some may be fit enough to be refloated to join the whales that are currently free swimming and the team continues to give them first aid.”
The pod was first spotted off Staffin at 4.30pm on Monday.
(Crown) via STV
Courtesy of news.stv.tv

20 Whales stranded, 12 dead in Bunbury Harbour, Australia

A Department of Parks and Wildlife picture of the stranded whales
An attempt to save a group of long-finned pilot whales washed up against a breakwater wall in Western Australia appears to be over.
A team from the Department of Parks and Wildlife (DPaW) and local volunteers went to the Bunbury harbour breakwater wall after a group of more than 20 whales congregated against it Monday morning.
Twelve of the animals died.
Four whales have been taken five nautical miles out to sea, and were released about 2:40pm (AWST).
They all appeared to be heading for deeper water.
Volunteers, boats and jet skis made as much as noise possible to discourage the whales from returning.
A further 15 whales are in the area but are not considered in danger.
Earlier DPaW spokesman Kim Williams explained how the rescue was being carried out.
“They have been collected off the rocks. They have been gathered together in a small sandy bay beach not far from where they were stranding,” he said.
“The idea here is that gathering the animals together on the small beach, in shallower water, we have volunteers around each animal, each animal is in a sling and they’re stabilising the animals and just keeping them calm.
“The concept is that once we’re happy that all are fit and ready to go, and the vets have checked them over … we’ll attempt to turn the whales around and with a series of boats, either side of them, lead them out of the shallow water past the breakwater and into the more open water hopefully to join a larger pod somewhere out in the deeper ocean.”
Volunteers from the Dolphin Centre had been helping to keep the whales alive.
One volunteer, Bob, said it was hard to get to the whales.
“Here we’ve got a small number but it’s on rocks and it’s…hard to get down there in amongst the rocks,” he said.
Desperate attempts to save a struggling calf failed, but it was been towed out in an attempt to try and coax its mother away from the rocks.
Courtesy of thenewdaily.com.au

140 Whales dead after 198 become stranded at Farewell Spit, New Zealand

Some 140 pilot whales that became stranded on a New Zealand beach have died, conservation officials have revealed.
The whales beached themselves on Friday at Farewell Spit on the northern tip of the South Island.
Teams of rescuers raced to re-float the mammals on the evening high tide, but the whales swam aground again overnight after they were escorted out to deeper water.
A second attempt to re-float around 60 remaining whales was made later on Saturday, and this appears to have been a success.
Pilot whales that became stranded on New Zealand beach have died
The area is described as a whale trap because its shallow waters seem to confuse the animals and reduce their ability to navigate.
Andrew Lamason, from the Department of Conservation (DOC), said “a lot of” young whales were among the dead.
Farewell Spit, around 95 miles west of Nelson, has been the scene of mass pilot whale strandings in the past.
There have been at least eight in the past 10 years, although this one is one of the largest.
Mr Lamason said: “It’s highly likely it’s the geography, potentially they’re coming in here hunting for fish and becoming disorientated and dying.
“It could be that some of the pods are sick and that brings them up on to the beach, we don’t really know.”
Pilot whales grow up to six metres (20ft) long and are the most common species of whale in New Zealand waters.
Courtesy of Sky News

3 Whales dead after stranding on a beach in Rototai, New Zealand

Word of mouth spread fast, inspiring hundreds of people to make the trip out on Rototai Beach to see and touch three sperm whales that stranded on the shallow tidal flats on Saturday night

In what became a Golden Bay community event, hundreds of people turned up at Rototai beach to see and touch three dead sperm whales that had become stranded.

The whales, which ranged in length from 14 to 17 metres long were located about one kilometre out on tidal flats from the beach carpark.

Local iwi gathered to bless the three whales, which were towed by tug boat to Farewell Spit last night, once the tide was high enough to move them.

Department of Conservation biodiversity programme manager Hans Stoffregen said DOC had received a phone call from Rototai residents saying there were whales milling about at sea.

“This morning we got a call from residents saying they were stranded.”

Golden Bay kaumatua John Ward-Holmes said iwi would later harvest the teeth and jawbone, which were regarded as “taonga”. He said local iwi Ngati Tama, Te Ati Awa and Ngati Rarua were kaitiaki of the teeth and jawbone, and that iwi were working in partnership with DOC on the whale stranding.

While smaller pilot whales strand in Golden Bay every year, sperm whales, which are the largest of the toothed whales, aren’t such a common sight in Golden Bay.

Stoffregen said the last sperm whale to be washed up in Golden Bay was “Tamati”, who stranded at Puponga in 2007.

Rototai resident Gaya Brabant said she and her family noticed the whales offshore last night and called DOC. Initially she thought they were playing. She said her son saw six whales further out to sea.

She wondered if a large amount of blue bottles had played any role in attracting the whales to come into the shallow waters.


36 Whales dead after 60 are stranded in Bay of Plenty, New Zealand

Whale rescue 05 November, 2014

About 36 pilot whales that had become stranded in the Eastern Bay of Plenty in New Zealand have died.

Two whale pods beached themselves in the Ohiwa harbour on the north-east coast on Monday.

Wildlife conservationists launched a rescue operation and helped one pod to be refloated on Tuesday, while 21 more whales were successfully herded out to sea on Wednesday.

The reasons for mass pilot whale strandings are not well understood.

Pilot whales are particularly prone to stranding behaviour. The largest known pilot whale stranding involved an estimated 1,000 whales at the Chatham Islands in 1918, according to the DOC.

Steve Brightwell from the DOC said the whales came into Ohiwa harbour after one of them was unwell and beached itself, reported Radio New Zealand.

Eleven of the whales were euthanized on welfare grounds on Tuesday, the Department of Conservation (DOC) said. About 25 pilot whales were found dead early Wednesday morning.

‘Great effort’

At about 05:00 local time on Wednesday (16:00 GMT Tuesday) volunteer medics from Project Jonah, a non-profit organisation, along with the DOC began an operation to guide those whales that were still alive back out to sea.

Whale rescue 05 November, 2014

“We did it! All 22 whales were shepherded through the mouth of the harbour to the ocean and were last seen heading towards deeper water,” Project Jonah said on Facebook.

New Zealand on average has more whales stranding themselves than any other country in the world, Daren Grover, general manager of Project Jonah told the BBC.

“It’s something we have lived with and we are quite geared up to respond to,” he said. “Today was a great effort – all those that were alive were refloated.”

Whale rescue 05 November, 2014

Whale rescue 05 November, 2014

Scientists believe individual whales strand themselves because they have a disease and are coming to the end of their life.

However, there are numerous theories around mass stranding including their highly sociable behaviour. One theory is that as one whale becomes stranded the other members of its pod try to help and become stranded themselves.

Pilot whales are the largest member of the dolphin family. They get their name from the fact that researchers believe that each pod follows a “pilot” in the group.

Their distinguishing feature is a large bulbous forehead, which protrudes beyond the mouth and small beak.


25 Dead Whales Found Near Kice Island In Florida, America

Twenty-five dead pilot whales were discovered Thursday near Kice Island in southwest Florida, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said.

They were part of a pod of whales first seen swimming around Gordon Pass in Naples in Collier County on Sunday, NOAA Fisheries Southeast marine mammal stranding coordinator Blair Mase said.

Biologists marked the whales, which were spotted again off Marco Pass near Marco Island on Monday. A Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission boat stayed with the group for much of Monday, when they were two miles off-shore, before officials stopped monitoring them.

But early Thursday afternoon, officials received a report from a boater who saw the whales on Kice Island, Mase said.

Mase said the whales came in on the high seas and were beached on Kice Island. It is on the south side of Caxambas Pass, which divides Marco Island and Kice Island, NOAA Fisheries spokeswoman Kim Amendola said. They were discovered 16 miles south of where they were originally spotted on Sunday.

A FWC field biologist went out and confirmed that the whales were all dead, and had been there for about 24 hours, Mase said. The biologist was accompanied by FWC law enforcement.

Sixteen of the whales were females, and nine were males, NOAA Fisheries said as it gave an increased death toll late Thursday afternoon.

Officials initially said that about 20 whales were found.

Earlier this week, four pilot whales died and four more were euthanized around Lover’s Key near Fort Myers in Lee County.
Mase said the necropsies on those eight whales were completed Wednesday. Some of the whales looked emaciated, and some appeared to be in decent condition, she said.

“They did all have empty stomachs, which is something that we were suspecting,” she said.

Five of the whales were males and three were females, including one that was pregnant, Amendola said.

In December, 51 pilot whales were found stranded in Everglades National Park, and 22 of them died. No cause of deaths has been determined yet for those whales, Mase said Thursday.

8 Whales Dead, More Stranded Off The Coast Of Florida, America

Stranded whales

Eight pilot whales found beached in shallow waters off Florida’s southwest coast will be examined in the hopes of unraveling an underwater mystery as to how they died, authorities said Tuesday

The whales where found in the Lovers Key State Park, near Fort Myers, said. Erin Fougeres, marine mammal biologist and stranding program coordinator for NOAA Fisheries.

Pilot whales live in deep water and usually make their home at least 20 miles off the coast of Florida, so when they swim inland, that’s often a sign they are suffering from some kind of toxicity or disease. The whales tend to travel in pods of a couple dozen or more and follow one or two leaders, or navigators.

Four were found dead and two others were euthanized and taken by truck to a lab Monday night; two more stranded in shallow waters Tuesday were being euthanized.

“They are in very poor condition,” Fougeres said of the stranded whales. They are thin, have not been eating normally and are dehydrated, she said.

Kevin Baxter of the Florida Wildlife Research Institute said the state does not know the location of other whales spotted Monday, and that helicopter pilots are searching for the main pod in the Gulf of Mexico.

Veterinarians from the Mote Marine Laboratory, Clearwater Marine Aquarium and University of Florida are also involved in finding the missing pod and determining how or why the whales died.

In December, more than 50 pilot whales got stranded in Everglades National Park. Several died.

Farther south, officials had been monitoring two dozen more pilot whales off the coast of Collier County, but Blair Mase, a regional stranding coordinator for NOAA’s Fisheries Service, said those whales were last seen about 2 miles offshore Monday, a sign that they were not in immediate danger.

70+ Whales Stranded, (Numbers Changing) 20 Dead On Beaches In Golden Bay, New Zealand

Nearly 50 pilot whales have re-stranded on Farewell Spit, frustrating efforts by experts and hundreds of volunteers to steer them back out to sea.

The Department of Conservation says 48 whales were stranded at Triangle Flat, near the base of the spit, about 6:30pm today, after spending a few hours out in Golden Bay.

They will be cared for until dark by around 40 volunteers and it is expect the whales will refloat on the incoming tide.

DOC rangers will look for the whales at daybreak tomorrow.

“It is unsafe to attempt to refloat whales in darkness,” DOC spokeswoman Trish Grant said.

DOC rangers, Project Jonah volunteers and others have been trying over the weekend to refloat the dozens of whales.

The pod of about 50 had spent a few hours in Golden Bay this afternoon, before they re-stranded.

That was despite eight whales, which had stayed close to the shore, being put down to prevent them causing the bulk of the pod to re-strand.

Today, 40 whales were refloated, 30 swam further out to sea but 10 whales hung back swimming parallel to the coastline. They then re-stranded. The other whales at sea then headed back to shore, also re-stranding on Farewell Spit.

About 100 volunteers have assisted in caring for the whales and refloating them, many of them trained Project Jonah volunteers.

A total of 71 whales were found on the beach this morning, including eight dead, spread over 1.6km.

This morning, 53 whales stranded, including 13 which died.

The whales are believed to be part of the same pod seen off Taupata Point, south of Farewell Spit, on Tuesday. Later that day, 13 whales stranded on the spit – none of which survived.

Pilot whales regularly become stranded on Farewell Spit. On January 6, 39 whales stranded there and died or were put down.