36 pilot whales die on New Zealand beach

 Thirty-six pilot whales died while 21 were rescued and released into the sea after a mass stranding on New Zealand's North Island, a media report said Wednesday.

Wellington: Thirty-six pilot whales died while 21 were rescued and released into the sea after a mass stranding on New Zealand's North Island, a media report said Wednesday.

The stranding was reported in Ohiwa Harbour, in the Bay of Plenty, late Tuesday, Xinhua reported citing a statement issued by the Department of Conservation (DOC).

DOC staff and members of the public led a first group of pilot whales back to the sea Tuesday, but a second group returned to the area early Wednesday.

DOC staff was monitoring the whales in case they faced further difficulties.

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