Nearly 100 whales die after mass stranding in New Zealand

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A picture showing a dead pilot whale beached on a beach. (Photo by Akila Jayawardana/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
A picture showing a dead pilot whale beached on a beach. (Photo by Akila Jayawardana/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

New Zealand officials reported that 100 whales and dolphins died in a mass stranding on the Chatham Islands, about 800 km (497 miles) off the east coast.

According to a report by Reuters, most of the animals beached themselves during the weekend. Rescue efforts were hampered by the remote location of the island.

97 pilot whales and three dolphins died.

Mass strandings are reasonably common on the Chatham Islands with up to 1,000 animals dying in a single stranding in 1918.

Stranding, commonly known as beaching, is a phenomenon in which whales and dolphins strand themselves on land, usually on a beach, they often die due to dehydration, collapsing under their own weight, or drowning when high tide covers the blowhole.

Mass whale strandings have occurred throughout recorded modern history, and why it happens is a question that has puzzled marine biologists for years.

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