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Discovery Online, October 30, 1998
New Zealand conservation officials found 250 dead pilot whales in the remote area of Doughboy Bay in southwestern Stewart Island Thursday. More than 300 whales had been stranded on the island since Wednesday, but rescuers were only able to save 60 of the marine mammals. According to the Department of Conservation's acting conservator, Dave Taylor, it was the second largest stranding of whales in New Zealand history. Officials were unable to determine what caused the whales to beach themselves.

Whales Stranded on New Zealand Beach
Discovery Earth Alert, December 22, 2000

Rescuers in New Zealand's southernmost island worked frantically on Friday to save a pod of more than 100 pilot whales that had beached themselves. The group sprang to action after 22 of the marine mammals died. By daylight, at least 30 of the whales were on Maori Beach on Stewart Island, close to where the deaths occurred, and scores of others were less than a half mile (1 km) offshore in dangerously shallow water. The rescuers used inflatable boats to circle the whales and try to encourage them to return to the sea, but Department of Conservation officials said the distress calls from the beached mammals attracted even more of the huge beasts to the shore. The group used the boats as a sort of barricade to discourage the whales from swimming ashore. A spokesman said, "Hopefully they will stay off. If they start heading for the beach again we push more craft in between the whales and beach to keep them off as best we can." Although there is no history of whales beaching themselves on Maori Beach, at least 288 whales died two years ago in a similar beaching at an isolated bay on the island's southeast coast.

Isn't this related to magnetism changes, like the lost pigeons?

Offered by Leila.

I tend to believe it is the magnetic field, because so much else is going on with other life forms indicating confusion and discombobulation.

Offered by Martha.