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Hundreds of whales die in mass stranding
New Zealand has one of the highest stranding rates in the world.

Teams work tirelessly to keep surviving whales afloat

Approximately 400 whales have died in one of New Zealand’s biggest ever pilot whale strandings.

Some 416 whales washed-up near Puponga on the Farewell Spit last Friday (10 February), of which 250-300 were already dead when they were discovered. Attempts to re-float the remaining whales were successful, but a further 200 stranded near the same site on Saturday.

In a statement, New Zealand’s Department of Conservation said that about 400 whales died in the strandings, but the DOC, Project Jonah, and scores of volunteers ‘worked strenuously on their recovery over the three days’.

Three-hundred of the dead whales have been moved by diggers further up Farewell Spit to an area that is not accessible to the public. According to BBC News, workers spent the last few hours piercing holes in the carcases to prevent them from exploding due to gas build up.

According to Project Jonah, New Zealand has one of the highest stranding rates in the world. On average, around 300 dolphins and whales strand every year.

It is not yet known why the whales keep returning to Farewell Spit, but experts believe it could be due to sharks (bite marks were found on one of the dead whales), the shape of the coastline, or its shallow tide.

The whales that were refloated are being constantly monitored as there is a risk they could return to shore. According to the latest update, the pod of 150 or more pilot whales are still at sea, about 2km offshore from Pakwau.

“DOC staff have finished their watch for the whales stranding in the area for tonight but DOC staff will search the coastline early tomorrow for any stranded whales,” said a DOC spokesperson.
“The watch has ended tonight after low tide has passed as if the whales should strand tonight they would be refloated in the incoming tide.

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Campaign highlights ‘devastating impact’ of smoking around pets

News Story 1
 Leading vet charity PDSA has launched a campaign highlighting the ‘devastating impact’ that smoking can have on pets. The launch coincides with National No Smoking Day (14 March 2018) and aims to raise awareness of the risks of passive smoking and how to keep pets safe.

“Recent studies highlight that this is a really serious issue, and we want pet owners to know that they can make a real difference by simply choosing to smoke outdoors away from their pets,” said PDSA vet Olivia Anderson-Nathan. “We want pet owners to realise that, if they smoke, their pets smoke too.”  

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News Shorts
Voting opens for RCVS council elections

Eligible veterinary surgeons can now vote in this year’s RCVS Council elections. Four out of the 10 candidates are already on council and are standing for re-election: David Catlow, Mandisa Greene, Neil Smith, Susan Paterson. The remaining six candidates are not currently on council: John C Davies, Karlien Heyman, John Innes, Thomas Lonsdale, Matthew Plumtree and Iain Richards.

Further information on the candidates can be found on the RCVS website: