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Volunteers are using two boats to guide the 17 pilot whales stranded at Golden Bay this morning to the rest of the their pod and try to coax them out to deeper waters.
About 200 of the 240 whales that were beached there yesterday refloated themselves at high tide about 11pm. They are now swimming east towards Collingwood.
Volunteers discovered the whales had successfully got back into the water when they went down to the beach to continue their rescue effort at 8am, DoC senior communications adviser Herb Christophers said.
The group were from a different pod to the 416 whales stranded on Thursday night.
Seventeen were still stranded on the beach – 8km further into the bay than where another group were found on Thursday – this morning.
The beach was still packed with hundreds of volunteers this afternoon and DoC staff asked others to stay home because it was so busy.
Japan has announced it will resume whaling in the Antarctic early next year after a break of more than a year.
The decision comes despite an International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling that Japan cease all whaling.
The Japanese government says it has taken into account the court ruling and its “scientific” whaling programme will be much smaller.
But the announcement has been condemned by environmental groups and the Australian and UK governments.
“We do not accept in any way, shape or form the concept of killing whales for so-called ‘scientific research’,” said Australian Environment Minister Greg Hunt.
“We are deeply disappointed with Japan’s decision to restart whaling in the Southern Ocean,” said the UK environment ministry, Defra. “This undermines the global ban on commercial whaling which the UK strongly supports.”
[Original article came from the BBC: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-34952538 ]