You are here: HomeRescues → 1996, February 08, Gray’s beaked whales, Taiharuru, Northland

A group of six Gray’s beaked whales stranded at Taiharuru Bay, to the north-east of Whangarei.  They were discovered by a member of the public who alerted the Department of Conservation (Doc).  DoC called Dr Ingrid Visser to assist with the rescue and subsequent necropsies. Upon arrival they found one whale (an adult) already dead, while the remaining five (three juveniles and two adults) were facing into the rocks and due to the surf conditions were being badly injured.

The whales were taken out of the tiny fissure in the rocks into which they were wedged and after more than two hours of swimming with the whales to ensure that they were sufficiently recovered four whales were escorted out to sea.  One individual was so badly injured, with its long and slender beak broken in multiple locations it was deemed more humane for it to be euthanased, rather than release it.

Afterwards a necropsy was conducted on the two dead Gray's beaked whales.  One was found to have a young foetus in the womb, which was collected for research purposes, but unfortunately was subsequently lost during transfer.

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Quick Facts

Name Gray’s beaked whale
Gray’s beaked whale
Suborder Odontoceti
Family Ziphiidae
Max. size - Male 5.6 m (18.3 ft)
Max. size - Female 5.3 m (17.3 ft)
Calf size 2.1-2.2 m (6.8-7.2 ft)
Max. weight - Male 1,100 kg
Calf weight unknown
Food thought to feed primarily on cephalopods (squid) in deep waters
Latin name Mesoplodon grayi
Location Taiharuru, Northland
Latitude -35.72659
Longitude 174.55559
Number of Whales 6
Number rescued/saved 4
At this rescue

Dr. Ingrid N. Visser – Whale Rescue Co-Founder

Dr. Ingrid N. Visser – Whale Rescue Co-Founder

Ingrid has attended numerous mass and individual strandings.  She is experienced in sampling and data collection at these events, and in the use of refloatation Rescue Pontoons and other rescue equipment.  She has served on the Board and was a trainer for another stranding rescue group.


Location of Rescue

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