Wednesday, 1 February 2012
Rare whales hit by ships
An examination of the body of a rare Bryde's whale found dead in the water near Waiheke Island this week shows it had been hit by a vessel.
Bryde's whales are critically endangered and there is thought to be just 200 Bryde's whales frequenting the Hauraki Gulf.
The 15 metre long female whale has been buried at Calypso Bay on Motuihe Island.
DOC says in the last 16 years there have been 41 confirmed deaths of Bryde's whales in the Hauraki Gulf.
Eighteen of these dead whales were examined and 15 are most likely to have died as the result of a vessel strike.
It wants commercial ships passing through the gulf to lower their speed to protect the whales.
Researcher Dr Rochelle Constantine says the whales spend the majority of their time less than ten metres below the surface putting them within strike depth of many ships.