New attempt to refloat two humpback whales

Rescuers will this morning attempt to refloat two humpback whales stranded on a Northland beach since yesterday.

The humpbacks, believed to be a mother and calf, were first seen about 100m offshore from Ripiro Beach about 7am and then found stranded about 8.30am, near Baylys Beach.

More than 100 volunteers joined Department of Conservation (DOC) and Project Jonah staff to try and help the whales, but when the high tide came they could not be floated to deeper water.

DOC Kauri Coast operations manager Stephen Soole hoped that if one whale made it to deeper water the other would follow.

“There is a lot of emotion at the moment because we don’t like to see these animals in distress and we’ve got that at the forefront of our mind,” Mr Soole said.

“That’s why there’s so much interest to refloat them and get them back out to sea.”

Kaipara Mayor Jason Smith saId it was heartbreaking to hear the mother calling to the calf.

Teams of experts and volunteers are expected to be out with the whales at first light this morning to resume the rescue effort.

They have a bulldozer at their disposal, as well as floating pontoons that can be used to add buoyancy to the whales, should conditions allow.