More than a dozen whales have died after becoming stranded on a beach in New Zealand.
The Department of Conservation said the mass stranding happened in Corolamdel on the country’s North Island.
Rescuers and volunteers worked all day on Saturday to refloat about 25 of the animals, part of a pod of about 40 to 50 pilot whales that got stranded earlier that day on a beach, Reuters reports.
Five dead pilot whales were discovered late on Saturday night at a site thought to be the original stranding location, the department said.
On Sunday morning, it became clear 19 whales had stranded again and died on a rocky headland, according to Stuff.
“Although the high tide at about 9pm on Saturday night had allowed the stranded whales to be refloated, members of the pod restranded this morning – including several on rocky outcrops at the bay,” the Department said in a statement on its Facebook account.
“Sadly, about a dozen have died after restranding on the rocks this morning.
“However, we are encouraged by the fact the majority of the stranded whales have re-joined the pod this morning and have been chaperoned out to deep water.”
Daren Grover, general manager of rescue group Project Jonah, said those whales had split away from the main pod.
He said: “It’s not the outcome we always hope for. It’s sad that they did strand and die.”
Mr Grover described Colville Bay as “quite treacherous” due to its shallow, muddy water and said rescuers are now working to ensure the rest of the pod stays in deeper water.
Volunteers added they were planning to position boats as a sort of barrier in a bid to steer the whales away from the shore.
It comes after almost 400 whales died in what is understood to be Australia’s largest stranding on record.
Late in September, hundreds of long-finned pilot whales were found beached on Tasmania’s west coast.
It is not fully understood why the whales became stranded, but the species is known to be prone to getting beached.
The stranding, one of the largest ever recorded globally, eclipses a previous national record of 320 set in Western Australia in 1996.