A Bryde's whale has been found dead in the Hauraki Gulf.
The whale was found washed up on Motuihe Island, between Waiheke and Motutapu Islands, on Sunday morning.
Project Jonah staff said it was too soon to tell how the 10 to 15 metre adult whale died, but conservation staff are investigating whether it was struck by a ship.
''Unfortunately it's fairly regular, we get two to three deaths a year in the Hauraki Gulf in similar circumstances,'' DOC duty officer Peter Smith said.
An autopsy will be carried out at Calypso Bay in the next few days.
The whale was discovered by a Motuihe DOC ranger.
There is a small number of Bryde's whales living in New Zealand in the Hauraki Gulf. It is one of a few places around the world with a resident population. Fewer than 200 of the whales frequent the gulf.
There have been at least 42 confirmed deaths of Bryde's whales in the gulf the last 16 years.
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