Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication. 


Thirteen common dolphins were found dead yesterday after stranding near the entrance to Tory Channel in the Marlborough Sounds and another two dolphins stranded there this morning.

Date:  28 February 2019

One of the two dolphins was refloated by local landowners and the other was found dead.  

The dolphins stranded at Okukari Bay on Arapawa Island and are thought to be from a pod of more than 100 common dolphins seen in the bay on Tuesday afternoon.

The local landowners found and reported the dead dolphins to DOC yesterday morning and two rangers went to the site.

DOC Sounds Operations Manager Dave Hayes said there was no sign of the dead dolphins being sick or injured and it appeared they had died as a result of stranding.

“There was no obvious reason for why they stranded and we don’t know why they did.

“It’s unfortunate when whales and dolphins strand and die but New Zealand is a hotspot for whale and dolphin strandings and they’ve been occurring for thousands of years.

“We’re very grateful to the local landowners for their assistance. As well as refloating the dolphin this morning, they are continuing to keep an eye out for any further dolphin activity.

“Yesterday they helped our rangers with the dead dolphins, including using their digger to help move and bury the dolphins in dunes behind the beach.”

DOC responds to an average of 85 whale and dolphin strandings a year, most of which involve one animal but also some involving large numbers.

Exactly why whales and dolphins strand is not fully known but factors can include sickness, navigational error, geographical features, a rapidly falling tide, being chased by a predator, or extreme weather. More than one factor may contribute to a stranding. 


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