More than 650 whales have
beached themselves on a remote
beach in New Zealand in two
separate mass strandings over recent
days. About 350 whales have died.
Another 100 have been helped back
into the sea by volunteers and more
than 200 have returned to sea by
Hundreds of volunteers from farmers to tourists have spent days at the beach dousing the whales with buckets of water to keep them cool and trying to refloat them. Other volunteers have formed human chains in the water to try to stop the creatures from beaching themselves again.
New Zealand has one of the highest rates of whale strandings in the world. Farewell Spit, at the tip of the South Island, has been the site of previous mass strandings. The spit's long coastline and gently sloping beaches seem to make it difficult for whales to navigate away once they get close.
There are different theories as to why whales strand themselves, from chasing prey too far inshore to trying to protect a sick member of the group or escaping a predator.
六百五十多隻鯨魚近日分兩批大 規模擱淺在紐西蘭的偏遠海灘。其 中約有三百五十隻已經死亡，另有 一百隻在志工協助下重回大海，還 有兩百多隻自己游回大海。
數百名志工，包括農民與遊客在 內，這幾天都在海灘提著水桶對鯨 魚潑水，替牠們降溫，也幫忙牠們 重新浮起來。還有志工築起人牆， 阻止鯨魚再度上岸。
紐西蘭是世界上最常發生鯨魚擱 淺的地點之一。位於南島北端的送 別岬曾經發生過多次大批鯨魚擱淺 。這個地點的海岸線很長，又有平 緩下沉的海灘，所以鯨魚一旦接近 ，會影響其導航系統，不易游回大 海。
關於鯨魚擱淺的原因，目前有許 多不同說法，從為了追捕獵物跑太 遠而靠岸，到保護鯨群的生病同伴 或躲避其他掠食者。