Posted by: The ocean update | March 16, 2016

Humpback whale without tail spotted off Kaikoura coast (New Zealand)

A whale with most of its tail missing has been spotted near Kaikoura. Viraj Gamage/whale watch Kaikoura

A whale with most of its tail missing has been spotted near Kaikoura. Viraj Gamage/whale watch Kaikoura

March 16th, 2016. A whale missing most of its tail has been spotted off the Kaikoura coast.

The humpback was first seen by a Department of Conservation ranger on Monday, but despite missing its tail flukes, the whale was moving well and seemed relaxed.

“What was left of the whale’s tail was tapered like an arrow tip,” Kaikoura ranger Mike Morrissey said.

“It’s bewildering as to how it came to lose both its tail flukes.”

The severe injury has healed since it was originally inflicted, according to DOC, but boaties are warned to keep their distance to protect its welfare.

“Fortunately, the whale wasn’t showing any signs of distress.

“It was swimming well and breaching, diving and rolling as humpback whales typically do.”

Dolphin Encounter Kaikoura guide Fiona Wardle posted photos of the whale on her Facebook page with some theories of how it could have lost its tail.

“Net entanglement and propeller strike being the general consensus.”

Humpback whales travel through New Zealand waters as they migrate between summer Antarctic feeding grounds and winter South Pacific breeding grounds.

The whale appeared to be breaching as normal

The whale appeared to be breaching as normal

Boats are advised to stay at least 50m from this, and all, whales

Boats are advised to stay at least 50m from this, and all, whales

A normal humpback whale tail.

A normal humpback whale tail.

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