Urgent Plea - Bed sheets and pillowcases needed for whale rescue

Project Jonah volunteer at Spirits Bay stranding September 2010
Alex Simpson

Peak whale stranding season is already underway and whale rescue charity Project Jonah is desperate for essential supplies to stock emergency response kits across the country.

Whale rescue teams need light-coloured bed sheets, pillowcases, garden trowels and spades – all of which are vital for emergency callouts throughout the summer.

'While specialised stranding equipment can be expensive, some of the things that can make a real difference don’t cost anything,' says Project Jonah CEO Kimberly Muncaster.

'Everyday items that you’re getting ready to throw out could be part of our critical life-saving kit.'

Each year whales and dolphins strand on New Zealand shores, and while some are sick or injured, others are healthy and just need a helping hand back out to sea.

'Saving whales isn’t as easy as it looks. We’ve got more than two thousand trained marine mammal medics up and down the country, but if they don’t have the tools they need then there isn’t a lot they can do.'

Drenched bed sheets are used to cover a stranded whale, protecting its sensitive skin from the sun and wind.

Pillowcases can be used as makeshift sandbags to help keep the whales upright, and spades and trowels make light work of shifting sand.

'Following a busy stranding season last year, our stocks are low and we need to prepare for the emergencies that lie ahead,' says Muncaster.

'We want people to understand that the things they no longer want, might be the things we really need.'

Please donate your old bed sheets, pillowcases, spades and trowels by handing them in at Dulux Trade centres.

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Project Jonah has been actively saving stranded whales for more than 25 years. It works closely with the Department of Conservation, the government agency responsible for managing strandings in New Zealand and relies solely on volunteers and donations to carry out its rescue and education work.