July 11th, 2016. A whale without a tail has washed up dead on the shores of an Ashburton beach, with someone having a go at cutting off what is left of its end.
The humpback whale has reportedly been there since Friday and is starting to smell. Local kids were covering their faces while looking at the whale on Monday afternoon.
The whale has severed flukes, similar to a humpback spotted off the Kaikoura coast March.
It has cuts all over it and there is whale parts scattered around it. Someone has also tried to hack off its tail.
A Department of Conservation spokesperson says as the whale is decomposing, the public should be careful not to touch it and to avoid pools of water around it.
“The public should take care when viewing the whale carcass and ensure children and dogs stay away from it to avoid contamination.”
It’s illegal to take any parts of a marine mammal, even if it’s died of natural causes. The penalty ranges between a fine of up to $250,000 and jail time for up to two years.
“Marine mammals are protected by legislation to ensure people don’t harm live animals or interfere with dead animals without prior permission of the proper authorities.”
DOC is currently consulting with local iwi about the mammal.
Humpback whales travel through New Zealand waters as they migrate between summer Antarctic feeding grounds and winter South Pacific breeding grounds.