Southern Right Whale, tail flukes and edge of boat
These baleen whales can be recognised easily by their strongly arched mouth, lack of dorsal fin and V-shaped blowhole spray.
Their head and lower jaw is covered with callosities; large, white, rough growths on the skin that are usually infested with parasitic worms, whale lice and barnacles. The number and arrangement of these are unique to each animal, making it possible to identify individuals and track their movements.
Your help is urgently sought to look out for tohora around New Zealand and to report sightings immediately.
Tohora/southern right whales are slow swimmers but are very acrobatic. They are also inquisitive.
Present day threats to southern right whales include fishing, coastal development and human harassment.
Find out the southern right whale conservation work DOC is involved in.
Reporting sightings of southern right whales is an important way you can help the species. Find out how to report sightings and how you should approach the whales.
Report your whale and dolphin sightings.
Whales in the South Pacific
Whales around Wellington
Marine and coastal conservation
View The Lost Whales documentary on NZ on Screen
To report whale or dolphin sightings or strandings phone the DOC HOTline 24 hour emergency number:
0800 DOC HOTline (0800 362 468)