More than 100 whales have died on a beach on the south island of New Zealand. They have “beached” themselves; swam into very shallow water and have been unable to move.


There are currently 90 more whales in this situation and volunteers are attempting to help them into deeper water. The volunteers are trying to keep the whales comfortable by pouring water over them, and when there is a high tide, they will try to push them into deeper water.

The water around this area is very shallow and this seems to confuse the whales. Even when the volunteers direct the whales into deeper water, sometimes they turn around and swim back to the beach, confused.

Once they are stranded on the beach they can die of dehydration and sunburn.

Scientists do not know why whales beach themselves like this. Although this has happened before in New Zealand, this is the biggest incident in 15 years.


Vocabulary: to beach (v), shallow (adj), deep (adj), to pour (v), high tide (n), to turn around (phrasal verb), stranded (adj).