Killer whales die in rare New Zealand mass stranding
WELLINGTON (AFP) - A pod of nine killer whales died on Wednesday in a rare mass stranding on the New Zealand coast, in a loss conservationists said was a major blow to the local orca population.
The pod, comprising eight adults and one juvenile, beached themselves at the remote Blue Cliffs Beach on the far south coast of the South Island, Department of Conservation spokesman Reuben Williams said.
"By the time we were able to reach them they were all dead," he said.
Mass strandings of pilot whales are common in New Zealand but Williams said it was unusual for so many orcas to run aground at the same time.