'Alien visitor' gives beach kids a thrill

Last updated 08:13 15/01/2014

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A stingray washed up on New Plymouth's Back Beach caused a stir yesterday.

Oakura woman Karen Chapman and her two sons were intrigued by the stingray.

"They look quite alien," she said.

Miss Chapman said while they always see things washed up on Oakura Beach, seeing the stingray was a first for her and her sons.

"I've never seen one with such a short tail."

The animal was believed to have been washed up in some large high tides in the past 36 hours, and was measured to be about 50cm across and a metre long.

DOC conservation services ranger Callum Lilley said that while it was not really common that a stingray would turn up on a beach, it had been known to happen - particularly when caught by surfcasters fishing in the area.

"They can dive down to 100 metres, though they come closer to shore in the summer," he said.

Mr Lilley identified the stingray as a short-tail stingray, commonly found in the temperate waters of the southern hemisphere, though he said it would be hard to tell how it found its way onto the beach. "There could be any number of reasons - sickness, injury, even being caught by surfcasters. People can legally take them."

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