From: Associated Press
Published September 30, 2005 12:00 AM

New Zealand, Australia Agree on Joint Effort To Help Stranded Whales' Survival

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Australia and New Zealand agreed Thursday to develop a joint strategy to help the survival of stranded whales which often die after beaching themselves, a behavior that continues to confound scientists.


New Zealand Conservation Minister Chris Carter said the two states already work together globally to protect and conserve whales and "this agreement is a logical extension of that relationship."


Carter said in a statement that the two states would improve whale stranding management through the exchange of techniques and areas of knowledge so they can develop a clearer picture about why whales beach themselves.


Scientists have so far been unable to determine what causes such behavior among whales, which sometimes become stranded on shorelines in groups of up to 400.


Carter said that Australia's Department of Environment and Heritage has expertise in rescuing large whales, and untangling them from fishing gear and other equipment.


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New Zealand's Department of Conservation is experienced in handling major strandings of whales and co-ordinating community groups, indigenous Maori and volunteers in rescue efforts, he added.


Source: Associated Press


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