Rescuers are trying to save dozens of whales after a mass stranding on a New Zealand beach thought to be the largest in decades. The Department of Conservation (DOC) discovered 416 pilot whales had beached themselves overnight at Farewell Spit in Golden Bay at the top of the South Island, with more than 70% dying by the time dawn broke on Friday. DOC staff and dozens of volunteers were on hand on Friday morning trying to save the remaining 100 whales.

Peter Wiles, who was one of the first volunteers to reach Farewell Spit, told Fairfax New Zealand that the white bellies of the whale corpses were lined up on the sand and floating in the shallows. “It is one of the saddest things I have seen, that many sentient creatures just wasted on the beach.” FULL REPORT