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Whales wash up at Mahia

A female pygmy sperm whale and a calf washed up on Opoutama Beach in Mahia yesterday.

Department of Conservation (DoC) officers were at the scene along with local iwi Rongomaiwahine.

DoC East Coast biodiversity ranger Jamie Quirk said the two were already dead and had “obvious bruising from being rolled in the surf”.

After a karakia from local kaumatua, DoC took measurements and DNA samples. Both whales were buried with the assistance of Rongomaiwahine.

DoC manages whale strandings and rescues, with the help of local communities, iwi, hapu, volunteers, and organisations like Project Jonah. Officers respond to an average of 85 stranding incidents per year, usually of single animals.

If you find a stranded whale or dolphin contact the DoC emergency hotline 0800 DOC HOT (0800 362 468).