New Zealanders Point to Seismic Oil Exploration For Stranded Orcas

From Seattle

New Zealanders are reacting with concern and outrage to  the recent tragic death of nine orcas who stranded on their shoreline this week (International Dolphin and Whale Stranding Network), but also with touching compassion.

A Southland woman held an orca as it lay dying and crying out near Tuatapere, while the rest of its pod lay dead on the beach on Tuesday night.

Debra Drain was one of the first to reach the nine stranded mammals, near Blue Cliffs, after a tramper told her husband Jeff Drain he had seen them while walking the Hump Ridge track.

Mrs Drain said several residents raced to the beach only to find eight of the orcas had already died.

They had been pushed up against rocks, with their flesh torn from them, and the last one was still crying out, she said.

“I couldn’t leave so I hugged a dying orca as it cried for its life.” Southland Times.

whalessad21214 dead orcas nz strand

Ngai Tahu representatives blessed the orcas.

And when the local Maori (the Ngai Tahu) representatives arrived, they gave the deceased orcas a traditional blessing.

Ngai Tahu spokesman Dean Whaanga said that ”…like our human friends that have passed on, (give) a blessing to them and wish them well on their last journey, their final farewell,” Mr Whaanga said. ”Whales are like chiefs of the sea and because they died before we got there we said a wee farewell to them, on this their last journey” .

Māori sometimes remembered significant events and stories about whales by naming islands and landforms after them. The names referred to, among other things, significant strandings, navigational pathways, and important journeys.For Maori, the land is believed to be the body of Papatūānuku (the earth mother), the womb that gave birth to people.

Imbuing landmarks with the memory of whales shows the reverence with which these creatures could be regarded. Whales Tohora

While the cause could be due to many factors, local residents blame the stranding on the seismic oil exploration going on in the area.  These explorations involve a near constant bedlam of sound, often for months, because the ships need to  generate loud enough sound to penetrate the seabed, which then returns an echo for analysis.

According to a post on the International Dolphin and Whale Stranding Network, New Zealanders are planning to protest the presence of the seismic vessels, one person wrote:

“…I live reasonably close to where these orca were stranded – the concerned citizens of the east coast of NZ are actually protesting, this saturday, the seismic surveying happening right fucking now. Here in our country and off our beaches. This is the 2nd mass stranding in 3 weeks – the other being a mass stranding of Blackfish on farewell spit – when Anadarko were doing seismic surveying on the west coast of NZ – These whales did not die for nothing – we are making posters and preparing for the protest this Saturday with renewed anger and rage.”

The oil industry should take this seriously, when Kiwis make up their mind on something and take a stand, they are resolute…just consider how they kicked the U.S. Navy out of their waters because we would not agree to their ‘no nuclear powered ships’ legislation. It took three decades for New Zealand to renew relationships with the U.S. Navy (and they still won’t let the nuclear powered ships within 12 miles).

People the world over have had enough of sitting by while the marine environment is destroyed – a handful of fishing boats disrupted seismic explorations in the Caribbean, for example – and will expect a full report on the whales’ deaths.

My guess is that the New Zealanders will see that we get it.

Categories: Seismic Testing

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