“The area is currently closed to the public because of the risk from whales exploding,” the conservation department said in a statement. Workers in protective clothing would spend the day cutting holes in the whale carcasses, “like popping balloons” with knives and two meter (six feet) needles, to release internal gases that build up pressure. Finally, the carcasses will be moved from that area and buried in the sand dunes. Diggers will be used to move the hundreds of heavy carcasses. “It’s a big job” admitted the DOC’s Trish Grant, adding that it would take a few days as the bodies can only be moved at low tide. The precise cause of the whale strandings was not known but beached whales are not uncommon on Golden Bay. The beaching of more than 600 whales on the 5km-long (three mile-long) stretch next to Golden Bay, of which around 300 died, is one of the worst such incidents in New Zealand’s history.