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Floods in New Zealand wash thousands of eels onto farmland, putting lives at risk

Floods have washed thousands of eels onto farmland in New Zealand, where they are at risk of losing their lives, owner of the property has said.

“No creature deserves to go out that way and the seagulls are having a field day. The sun’s taking its toll on them and unless we do something really quickly, they'll perish,” said Tim Sanson, owner of around 60-acre farmland where the eels are stranded.

The farmland is located in the Selwyn district near Lake Ellesmere in the Canterbury region of the South Island of the country, according to Radio New Zealand.

The eels, which are ray-finned fish, were washed ashore by floods and are now strewn across Sanson's property.

“The eels use the creek on (my) property to breed and migrate,” he said, adding that he had warned regional authorities of such an event and asked them to fix the sea wall but “to no avail.”

“A breach in a nearby seawall meant that when it flooded, the creek was engulfed and they were carried onto the land,” said Sanson.

Distressed to see the eels writhing on the now-dry ground, Sanson said: “It was an awful sight.”

“As soon as the eels get a sniff of the salt water, they’re off across the paddocks, trying to get to the sea. Unfortunately, the last high tide last night wasn't high enough for them to get across and they've been stuck there,” he added.


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