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Golden Bay whales swim out to sea

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 13/02/2017

Farewell Spit remains free from beached whales with no new strandings.

The Department of Conservation says the Golden Bay coastline is clear from Farewell Spit to Collingwood.

"This is good news," it said in a statement on Tuesday morning after more than 700 whales stranded in the area over the weekend and hundreds of volunteers pitched in to a huge relief effort to save them.

A pod of 150 or more pilot whales that had been milling around off the coast of Pakawau on Monday afternoon had also swum away and could not be seen from shore.

"It's not known at this time where the whales are, but DOC staff and Project Jonah remain ready to respond if a report comes in of whales stranding," the department said.

Authorities on Monday said about moving hundreds of whale carcases into the sand dunes in a part of Farewell Spit not open to the public where they buried them with a digger.

The series of mass strandings are the largest on the New Zealand mainland since records began.

About 1000 whales beached themselves on the Chatham Islands in 1918 and 450 near Auckland in 1985.

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