World

Nearly 200 pilot whales stranded on New Zealand beach; 2 dozen dead

  • A Department of Conservation worker tends to a whale stranded on Farewell Spit, a famous spot for whale beachings, in Golden Bay on New Zealand's South Island, Friday Feb. 13, 2015. Nearly 200 pilot whales stranded themselves on New Zealand's South Island on Friday, with hordes of rescuers rushing to the remote area in a bid to guide them back to sea. (AP Photo/New Zealand Herald, Tim Cuff) AUSTRALIA OUT; NEW ZEALAND OUT

    A Department of Conservation worker tends to a whale stranded on Farewell Spit, a famous spot for whale beachings, in Golden Bay on New Zealand's South Island, Friday Feb. 13, 2015. Nearly 200 pilot whales stranded themselves on New Zealand's South Island on Friday, with hordes of rescuers rushing to the remote area in a bid to guide them back to sea. (AP Photo/New Zealand Herald, Tim Cuff) AUSTRALIA OUT; NEW ZEALAND OUT  (The Associated Press)

  • A Department of Conservation worker tends to a whale stranded on Farewell Spit, a famous spot for whale beachings, in Golden Bay on New Zealand's South Island, Friday Feb. 13, 2015. Nearly 200 pilot whales stranded themselves on New Zealand's South Island on Friday, with hordes of rescuers rushing to the remote area in a bid to guide them back to sea. (AP Photo/New Zealand Herald, Tim Cuff) AUSTRALIA OUT; NEW ZEALAND OUT

    A Department of Conservation worker tends to a whale stranded on Farewell Spit, a famous spot for whale beachings, in Golden Bay on New Zealand's South Island, Friday Feb. 13, 2015. Nearly 200 pilot whales stranded themselves on New Zealand's South Island on Friday, with hordes of rescuers rushing to the remote area in a bid to guide them back to sea. (AP Photo/New Zealand Herald, Tim Cuff) AUSTRALIA OUT; NEW ZEALAND OUT  (The Associated Press)

Nearly pilot whales have stranded themselves on a beach on New Zealand's South Island.

Department of Conservation area manager Andrew Lamason says two dozen of the 198 whales that were found beached on Friday have already died. The animals stranded themselves on Farewell Spit, a famous spot for whale beachings.

About 80 conservation workers and volunteers are trying to refloat the whales as high tide rolls in. But with such a vast number of animals stranded, workers are bracing for days of arduous work to move the whales back into the water.

Whale strandings are common during the New Zealand summer. Experts describe Farewell Spit as a whale trap due to the way its shallow waters seem to confuse whales and diminish their ability to navigate.