22 beached whales die, 77 stranded
Wellington - Twenty two pilot whales died on Monday and 77 others were in peril on a remote beach on New Zealand's South Island, news reports said.
Conservation officials appealed for volunteers to help at Farewell Spit, and said they hoped the whales would refloat themselves on the overnight high tide.
Department of Conservation official John Mason told the Nelson Mail that volunteers tried to keep the whales cool sunshine during the day but it was too dangerous to try to refloat them in the dark.
He said if they remained on the beach at daylight an effort would be made to refloat them on Tuesday morning's high tide.
Although strandings are common on New Zealand beaches, scientists do not yet understand why whales beach themselves.