This picture taken on Feb. 11, 2017 shows a volunteer caring for a pilot whale during a mass stranding at Farewell Spit. / AFP / Marty MELVILLE
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Whale rescuers were cautiously optimistic Sunday that the current wave of mass beachings in New Zealand was over, after hundreds of the creatures died after being stranded ashore.The crisis began early Friday when a pod of 416 whales were found stranded on the 26-kilometre (16 miles) Farewell Spit, with hundreds more following them over the weekend.The shallow, sweeping spit is believed to interfere with the whales' navigation systems and is a regular scene of mass strandings.Late Saturday afternoon, when rescuers believed the situation to be under control, about 240 whales moved around a small flotilla of boats and a human chain of rescuers standing in the water trying to herd them away.
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