Fluke of Southern Right whale.

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.


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DOC 24 hour emergency hotline:
0800 DOC HOT (0800 362 468)

Phone to report:

Seals severely injured, entangled, or being harassed by people or dogs
Whale or dolphin strandings
Sick or injured wildlife

For other enquiries, contact your nearest DOC office