Recovery or burial of the carcass would likely be unsafe, impractical and expensive and at this stage the Department is considering leaving the carcass to decompose naturally.
The animal has washed up on a rocky section of the Taranaki shoreline and is difficult to access. Getting in heavy machinery to deal with the carcass would likely impact on the shoreline values of the Tapuae Marine Reserve.
Discussions about leaving the carcass to nature have been had in conjunction with local iwi/hapu who support the Department’s position.
Dead blue whale on Tapuae Beach, near Okurukuru
The public are encouraged to avoid contact with the whale carcass as there a health risk through transfer of disease and the presence of bacteria.
Given the location of the animal there is also a health and safety risk due to heavy sea conditions and rising tides and the public are encourage to avoid venturing out to the site.
DOC and Massey University staff made an inspection of the blue whale carcass on the Taranaki coast this morning.
The team attempted to undertake a necropsy and it was found that the animal was too badly decomposed to determine an exact cause of death.
There were also no external signs on the carcass that would indicate any obvious cause of death.
Initial tissue samples were taken by Massey staff and it will be some time before those results come back.