The launch of Whale Rescue at Opua (Northland, New Zealand) brought together many of the region’s top marine mammal experts. Dr Visser said the eight-strong team were highly experienced rescuers. Their first project was to design a pilot whale mat capable of lifting 4000kg. Eight mats, ($1000 each), were handed over to the Department of Conservation. Whale Rescue is gathering equipment, including two newly donated pontoon systems, which will be based at Opua and Tutukaka. The new group would not replace Project Jonah or Far North Whale Rescue, but would act as a ‘first response team’ able to get to strandings quickly. Their next project is to raise $5000 for a disentanglement kit to free whales caught in rope or nets.
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