In March 2008 in New Zealand, Department of Conservation worker Malcolm Smith was alerted by a local man that two pygmy sperm whales, a mother and her calf, had been stranded on Mahia Beach, about 300 miles north-east of Wellington on the east coast of the North Island.
About 30 whales are stranded on this stretch of coast annually and sadly most have to be killed.
Knowing this, Smith rushed out with several volunteers to attempt to rescue the whales.
Down on the beach, the team kept the whales wet and worked for more than an hour to refloat them so they could direct them back into open water but they kept getting stuck on a large sandbar just offshore.
The whales were becoming…
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