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Stranded whales die

Thirty-nine pilot whales became stranded on this New Zealand beach on Sunday. By Monday 12 of the animals were dead and authorities said they shot the rest to prevent further suffering. (SOUNDBITE)(English) JOHN MASON, DEPARTMENT OF CONSERVATION, SAYING: "We sent two of our most experienced staff out there to make an assessment of whether we believed a refloat was possible but unfortunately, considering where they were on the beach and the weather conditions today, we just didn't believe that refloating was a viable option." The whales were stranded on Farewell Spit on South Island. The thin strip of sand regularly traps groups of whales and local media reports say hundreds have been stuck there over the years. The latest casualties will be left on the beach after a Maori blessing.

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