A dead orca has washed up on a West Auckland beach.
Orca are considered nationally critical in New Zealand, and known threats include interactions with fisheries and boat strikes. The death is being investigated.
The orca was discovered on Whatipu Beach, 40km west of downtown Auckland, and reported to the Department of Conservation (DoC). Photos taken by rangers show possible blunt force trauma to the head.
A team from Massey University will today do a necropsy to establish cause of death, and also take biological sampling to assess diet and pollutant loads in the adult male whale.
The team will be led by Coastal-Marine Research group director, Dr Karen Stockin, who said it was too early to speculate on the cause of the head trauma, although boat strike was an obvious consideration.
Whale Rescue co-founder Jo Halliday said orca around New Zealand faced a higher risk of stranding than those elswhere in the world because of a tendency to chase food into shallow water.
“It can put them at a much higher risk of stranding than other orca that are found in other populations, just because these guys will spend quite a bit of time getting into the shallows chasing after stingrays.”
Halliday also said there was no clear indication as to what had caused the death.
“It could be that he may have been stranded somewhere or it could be that it’s sick, who knows?”
Exactly. Some sense at last.
And even if it did get too close to a boat, it clearly didn’t have the survival skills to stay away. The circle of life and all that.
Stop wasting public money playing CSI West Coast.
– NZ Herald