Sadly, a Gray’s beaked whale, believed to be the same one that was refloated a few days earlier, was found dead on Red Beach, early on Saturday, March 5.
It was secured with a rope and then gently lifted onto a truck in front of a small crowd of onlookers.
Department of Conservation biodiversity ranger, Shelley Ogle, says the whale was taken, with iwi, to a local urupa (Maori burial site) where samples and photos were taken to add to a database of stranding information, as well as to ascertain what caused this individual’s death.
The whale was then buried, but Shelley says it may be exhumed at a later date, as it is rare to find such an intact specimen of this species.
She says researchers don’t know a lot about Gray’s beaked whales, compared with others found in the Hauraki Gulf, as they are a deep-water species.
Tests at Massey University should reveal more about the cause of death, and those results will be known in a few weeks.
Six years ago, in May 2016, another Gray’s beaked whale was found dead near Okoromai Bay (HM June 1, 2016). It was also buried at the urupa after samples were taken.