Four whales dead after stranding south of Whangārei, with remaining pod in danger

Four whales from a larger pod have died after stranding themselves on Uretiti Beach near Ruakaka, south of Whangārei, this morning.

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The group were part of a larger pod, which has also been sighted close to shore. Source: 1 NEWS

They appear to be pilot whales - a cetacean species well-known to strand.

Lillie Sievers saying goodbye to a pilot whale which died on Uretiti Beach after stranding. Source: @kiwi_and_free

More whales have been seen milling close offshore, Project Jonah New Zealand said on Facebook, and there is concern they could also beach.

Project Jonah confirmed about 8.30am that all four whales on shore had died, while the rest of the pod could be seen heading south, towards Lang's Beach.

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Four of the creatures have died, with the rest of the pod now moving away from shore. Source: 1 NEWS

Project Jonah has sent their volunteer Northland medics to Ruakaka to monitor the situation, with a rescue trailer and senior team on the way. 

The Department of Conservation was also on site.

Project Jonah asked people to not head to the beach at this time.