DOC wants whale snaps

01:00, Jul 28 2010

The Department of Conservation is calling all whale watchers to send in photos of a southern right whale spotted around Waiheke's northern beaches.

Since a story appeared in the Waiheke Marketplace last Wednesday, DOC has had several phone calls confirming the whale had barnacles on its head – typical of the species.

Now programme manager biodiversity Phil Brown is asking anyone who took a close-up photo, or a snap that shows the whale's head to email him a high resolution photo so he can catalogue it.

Mr Brown says the markings on southern right whales' heads are individual and the department can tell from the markings which whale has been spotted, if it has been seen before.

"We keep a database of southern right whales to build up a picture of how many individuals there are."

He says although there are dozens of sightings every year, fewer than 250 different southern right whales have been catalogued up and down the coast of New Zealand.

The whales travel around the sub-antarctic islands and travel up to New Zealand, usually in winter. Photos can be emailed to pbrown@doc.govt.nz.

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