Nearly 100 whales die after mass stranding in New Zealand

Nearly 100 whales die after mass stranding in New Zealand
A handout photo from the New Zealand Department of Conservation shows some of the 100 dead pilot whales stranded on New Zealand’s remote Chatham Islands. (New Zealand Department of Conservation via AFP)
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Updated 25 November 2020

Nearly 100 whales die after mass stranding in New Zealand

Nearly 100 whales die after mass stranding in New Zealand
  • Most of them were stranded during the weekend but rescue efforts have been hampered by the remote location of the island

WELLINGTON: About 100 pilot whales and bottlenose dolphins have died in a mass stranding on the remote Chatham Islands, about 800 km (497 miles) off New Zealand’s east coast, officials said on Wednesday.
Most of them were stranded during the weekend but rescue efforts have been hampered by the remote location of the island.
New Zealand’s Department of Conservation (DOC) said in total 97 pilot whales and three dolphins died in the stranding, adding that they were notified of the incident on Sunday.
“Only 26 of the whales were still alive at this point, the majority of them appearing very weak, and were euthanized due to the rough sea conditions and almost certainty of there being great white sharks in the water which are brought in by a stranding like this,” said DOC Biodiversity Ranger Jemma Welch.
Mass strandings are reasonably common on the Chatham Islands with up to 1,000 animals dying in a single stranding in 1918.
Mass whale strandings have occurred throughout recorded modern history, and why it happens is a question that has puzzled marine biologists for years.
In late September, several hundred whales died in shallow waters off the Australian coast in one of the world’s biggest mass whale strandings.


No-go for Joe Exotic: Donald Trump’s pardon list omits ‘Tiger King’

No-go for Joe Exotic: Donald Trump’s pardon list omits ‘Tiger King’
Updated 20 January 2021

No-go for Joe Exotic: Donald Trump’s pardon list omits ‘Tiger King’

No-go for Joe Exotic: Donald Trump’s pardon list omits ‘Tiger King’
  • Joe Exotic, whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, was sentenced in January 2020 to 22 years in federal prison
OKLAHOMA CITY: One name missing in President Donald Trump’s flurry of pardons is “Tiger King” Joe Exotic.
His team was so confident in a pardon that they’d readied a celebratory limousine and a hair and wardrobe team to whisk away the zookeeper-turned-reality-TV-star, who is now serving a 22-year federal prison sentence in Texas. But he wasn’t on the list announced Wednesday morning.
Joe Exotic, whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, was sentenced in January 2020 to 22 years in federal prison for violating federal wildlife laws and for his role in a failed murder-for-hire plot targeting his chief rival, Carole Baskin, who runs a rescue sanctuary for big cats in Florida. Baskin was not harmed.
Maldonado-Passage, who has maintained his innocence, was also sentenced for killing five tigers, selling tiger cubs and falsifying wildlife records. A jury convicted him in April 2019.
In his pardon application filed in September, Maldonado-Passage’s attorneys argued that he was “railroaded and betrayed” by others. Maldonado-Passage, 57, is scheduled to be released from custody in 2037, but his attorneys said in the application that “he will likely die in prison” because of health concerns.
Maldonado-Passage’s legal team did not immediately respond to a request for comment early Wednesday.
The blond mullet-wearing zookeeper, known for his expletive-laden rants on YouTube and a failed 2018 Oklahoma gubernatorial campaign, was prominently featured in the popular Netflix documentary “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness.”