Hundreds of whales in second New Zealand stranding able to swim free

On Thursday evening, a conservation worker spotted that about 400 whales had washed ashore.

"These things explode from the stomach and if you're standing right there it's not very nice getting a "gut bomb" on your face," Ogle said, adding that arrangements to clear the beach of the unfortunate sea creatures will be made on Monday.

The warning follows good news today, where a number of whales were successfully refloated - with the help of authorities and members of the public - after they beached themselves this morning.

The precise cause is not known.

But around 300 whales died on the Golden Bay side of Farewell Spit as volunteers worked strenuously to keep the surviving marine mammals alive by cooling them with water.

Another 200 whales became stranded near the original site on Friday prompting the DOC and Project Jonah to call for even more volunteers. More than 500 people worked for days to help save as numerous stranded whales as they could.

They were also re-floated and were seen swimming offshore on Sunday. It has a long protruding coastline and gently sloping beaches that make it hard for whales to swim away once they get close.

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On Thursday, the New Zealand Department of Conservation discovered more than 400 whales stranded on the South Island's Farewell Spit, more than half of them already dead.

Whales appear to have stayed out at sea following a mass stranding over the weekend.

Seventeen whales stranded at Golden Bay overnight and these selfless helpers are doing what they can to save them, but they need help.

"We had 240 whales strand yesterday in the afternoon and we were fearful we were going to end up with 240 dead whales this morning", Herb Christophers, a Department of Conservation spokesman said.

About 300 whales will be moved with a digger and buried in the sand dunes further up Farewell Spit, South Island. Almost 700 whales were stranded on Farewell Spit along New Zealand's South Island.

In this case, it might have also been simply the wrong place at the wrong time for the unfortunate animals, with experts noting that Farewell Spit is a particularly hard place for whales to navigate, as the sand banks reflect sonar poorly.

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