A stranded sperm whale on South Brighton Beach in Christchurch has sadly passed away over the weekend. Department of Conservation rangers and whale conservation group Project Jonah worked through the night to assess the situation, but the whale was unable to be refloated. Local iwi blessed the whale, and preparations to remove it from the beach will soon begin.
Project Jonah noted that there have only been four successful refloats of stranded sperm whales in New Zealand, the last one occurring in Timaru in 2020.
Large whales like sperm whales pose significant logistical challenges due to their size and weight, and they often have underlying health conditions that contribute to strandings. This incident marks the fifth stranded sperm whale death in the past month, with previous strandings occurring in Northland and Mahia.