Beached whale shot at Raglan

Buried where it died

ANGELA CUMING
Last updated 17:14 18/02/2013
dead whale
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FUTILE: Locals tried in vain to save a beached pygmy sperm whale in Raglan.

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A pygmy sperm whale was euthanised by a DOC ranger after it beached itself in Raglan at the weekend.

Rangers were notified of the stranding about 11.45am on Sunday when the 2.7-metre long mammal was found inside the Raglan Harbour entrance, said DOC ranger Garry Hickman.

''It was distressed when it came in,''' Mr Hickman said.

''A few locals attended to it and supported it.''

The whale was in shallow water and there were six ultimately futile attempts made to take it back out to deeper waters, he said.

''We excavated sand under it, tried to get him back out, but he just kept coming back in,'' Mr Hickman said.

''The sad reality is it that it didn't go away.''

Mr Hickman said a decision was then made to shoot the creature and bury the carcass.

Iwi representatives were consulted during the whole process, he said.

''It (shooting it) was the only thing that could be done.

''If we had kept trying to drag it back out it would have just been attacked by sharks.

''That is just how nature works.''

Pygmy sperm whales are not common in the area, Mr Hickman said.

''I am no marine mammal expert but from what I have read they are a deep water whale,'' he said.

''They only only one I've seen is at Kawhia, and I've been here 17 years.''

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- Waikato

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