Wellington: Upto 200 pilot whales were stranded Friday on Farewell Spit in New Zealand's Golden Bay.
Andrew Lamason, the Department of Conservation (DOC) services manager for Golden Bay, said he had received a call notifying him that 24 of the stranded whales Farewell Spit had already died, Stuff.co.nz reported.
"I expect that number to keep going up," Lamason said. Members of DOC and the marine mammal rescue organisation, Project Jonah are assisting at the scene.
An attempt would be made to refloat the whales on the next high tide later in the evening.
Lamason said DOC would be looking for volunteers to assist them from Saturday morning.
However, Lamason warned that there was no guarantee that there would be whales to rescue by Sunday morning.
Farewell Spit is notorious for whale strandings, with some experts attributing it to the spit's unique topography, The New Zealand Herald reported.
A DOC marine expert said last year the spit was shaped like a "crooked hook" and its beaches had shallow shelves - making the area "the perfect whale trap".