A critically endangered Bryde’s whale has been found dead in the Hauraki Gulf.
The whale was found washed up on Motuihe Island, between Auckland’s Waiheke and Motutapu Islands.
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 this morning.
The population of Bryde’s whales living in New Zealand waters is critically endangered. New Zealand is one of the few places in the world with a resident population of the species, centred on the Hauraki Gulf. Fewer than 200 of the whales frequent the gulf.
There have been at least 42 confirmed deaths of Bryde’s whales in the gulf in the past 16 years.
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