Rare dolphin washes up at Pōhatu/Flea Bay
Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication.
IntroductionIn amongst all the recent seismic activity, Department of Conservation (DOC) staff were called to retrieve a dolphin that had washed up at Pōhatu/Flea Bay, Banks Peninsula.
Date: 09 September 2010
In amongst all the recent seismic activity, Department of Conservation (DOC) staff were called to retrieve a dolphin that had washed up at Pōhatu/Flea Bay, Banks Peninsula.
The dead hourglass dolphin
Local resident Francis Helps contacted Biodiversity Ranger Derek Cox after seeing a dead dolphin in the surf at the remote bay. After measurements and photos of the dolphin were taken it was buried at the beach.
Derek then contacted Dr Karen Stockin of the Marine Coastal Group at the Albany campus of Massey University, to inform her of the find. She requested that, as the dolphin had only recently died, it be sent to Auckland for necropsy to determine the cause of death and to look for any diseases that may be present. So armed with a spade, and a good face mask, Ranger Cox returned to Flea Bay and retrieved the dolphin carcass.
After receiving the dolphin, Dr Stockin was able to correctly identify it as an extremely rare ‘hourglass’ dolphin; so called because of the hourglass-like white markings down the side of the dolphin. She excitedly contacted Derek to inform him of the news.
There have been only a few sightings of this dolphin in New Zealand waters – as it is usually found in sub-Antarctic regions. So infrequently does a specimen become available for scientific research that staff from Te Papa museum in Wellington are also very interested in the rare find and have joined Dr Stockin to assist the dissection and investigation of the dolphin corpse.