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.