You are here: HomeRescues → 2004, July 30, Hauraki Gulf, dead pygmy blue whale

Blue whales are the largest animals that have ever lived, and the subspecies (or possibly a completely separate species) despite it’s name ‘pygmy’ is still huge - reaching 25 m (82 ft).  Both ‘true’ blue and ‘pygmy’ blue whales are thought to inhabit New Zealand waters.  This one, found well and truly dead, was approximately 15 m long (when compared to the research vessel alongside).  From bite marks it was clear that this individual had been attacked by orca (killer whales).

Without being present during the orca attack, it is not possible to know if the orca were instrumental in the death of this pygmy blue whale, however orca were seen in the area later in the day so they may have been the individuals who inflicted the wounds.  It was also clear that sharks had also been feeding on the carcass.

Rescue Images
Quick Facts

Name Blue whale
Blue whale
Suborder Mysticeti
Family Balaenopteridae
Max. size - Female 25 m (82 ft)
Food thought to feed exclusively on krill, however may also feed on small schooling fish
Latin name Balaenoptera musculus brevicauda
Location Auckland
Latitude -36.64406
Longitude 174.92933
Number of Whales 1
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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