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Refloated whales being closely watched

Published: 6:28AM Saturday January 07, 2012 Source: ONE News

  • Volunteers and workers help to keep a pilot whale away from shore. (Source: ONE News)
    Volunteers and workers help to keep a pilot whale away from shore. - Source: ONE News

Eighteen long-finned pilot whales were successfully refloated today, although are being carefully watched in case they beach again.

The survivors of a pod of 25 whales were re-floated this morning at high tide after beaching in Nelson yesterday afternoon.

Seven died overnight.

The whales were cared for overnight by Project Jonah marine mammal medics, Department of Conservation staff and locals.

Project Jonah CEO Kimberly Muncaster said the whales are "milling" around very close to shore, which is worrying.

"They are not heading back to the open ocean as we had hoped, and with low tide approaching this is cause for concern."

Department of Conservation staff and Project Jonah volunteers are monitoring the whales' movements and are preparing to take action if they beach again.

"At this point no further assistance is needed from volunteers, but people wanting to help in the event of a restranding should keep an eye on the Project Jonah website and Facebook page," Muncaster said.