A stranding of seven rare gray’s beaked whales on a Northland beach was the biggest ever stranding on mainland New Zealand.
Four adult whales and three calves were found dead on Waikuku Beach on Sunday.
The whales were badly decomposed and may have been there a week, the Department of Conservation (DOC) said in a statement.
“No matter how many times you go to a whale stranding it is always emotional, especially when the whales are already dead,” DOC ranger Niki Conrad said.
Mr Conrad was one of the rangers who made the discovery.
DOC programme manager biodiversity assets Patrick Whaley said whale strandings were common in the area. ” Up until now we have only found one or two individual gray’s beaked whales.
“This is definitely the largest stranding of this species on the mainland – previous mass stranding have occurred in the Chatham Islands.”
Image: Earlier image of Gray’s Beaked whale stranding by Chris Johnson