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Six stranded whales are returned to the ocean in New Zealand
Conservation workers and volunteers in New Zealand managed to refloat six surviving stranded whales on Tuesday and were hoping the animals would soon swim away into deeper water. Ten pygmy killer whales were initially found stranded Sunday at Ninety Mile Beach on the North Island. Two whales later died there. On Monday evening, crews transported the remaining animals on hay-lined trailers to Rarawa Beach on the opposite coast of the peninsula, where the sea conditions were calmer. The trip took about an hour, a Department of Conservation ranger said. The ranger said the whales were then placed in a tidal stream to relieve the pressure on their bodies. But he said the whales became too buoyant and were moved onto the sand, where volunteers kept a vigil through the night, regularly cooling the animals with water. The ranger said about 200 people showed up to help, and groups of a dozen per whale lifted the animals into the sea Tuesday morning and refloated them on the high tide. He said that two of the weaker whales beached themselves again. He said the remaining whales were swimming about 400 meters (437 yards) from the shoreline on Tuesday afternoon and would continue to be monitored until they swam into deeper water, their natural habitat. The crews were hoping for a better outcome than from an unrelated stranding over the weekend in which all 145 pilot whales died.