A Gray’s Beak Whale, a very rare mammal throughout the world’s oceans, has, in the last hour, been discovered near Ohuirehe Urupa.
A 1cm sample has been taken for DNA and study.
A ceremonial karakia will be carried out by Pouroto Ngaropo which will be followed by immediate burial.
More info on this whale
Rarely seen at sea
The chance of seeing any of the 11 species of beaked whales known to inhabit New Zealand waters is slight. In some cases the only proof of their existence is their bodies washed up along the coastline.
These enigmatic creatures are the least known marine mammals. Their ancestors first appeared about 25 million years ago, making beaked whales one of the earliest whale groups to evolve. Worldwide there are 21 species, and fresh discoveries continue to be made. For example, a pygmy beaked whale, believed to exist only off South America, was found stranded near Kaikōura in 1991.
The beaked whale that becomes stranded most often in New Zealand waters is the Gray’s beaked whale (Mesoplodon grayi), also known as the scamperdown whale. It is therefore assumed to be the most common beaked whale in the region. These whales form small herds, and in the 19th century there was a mass stranding of 25 in the Chatham Islands. This implies a similarity with social species such as pilot whales, which sometimes become stranded in large groups.