(CNN)As many as 145 whales have died after being found stranded on a remote beach in New Zealand, conservation officials said Monday.
Two pods of pilot whales were discovered just over a mile apart on Mason Bay, Stewart Island, a sparsely populated island in the country’s south.
Authorities were first alerted to the mass stranding by a hiker Saturday evening. Half of the whales were already dead. The remaining animals were later euthanized, according to New Zealand’s Department of Conservation (DOC).