DOC urges public to respect stranded marine mammals


The 14.2m-long baleen whale stranded at the northern end of Tokomaru Bay on October 2. Investigations revealed that the whale died at sea.

DOC has received disturbing reports of members of the public attempting to remove pieces from the whale and causing damage to the body.

“In New Zealand, all whales are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act,” says Jamie Quirk, Gisborne Biodiversity Ranger for DOC.

“It is an offense to interfere with dead whales and anyone caught could be prosecuted.

“We should have respect for our wildlife, dead or alive.”

DOC is investigating these events, with the assistance of New Zealand police. If you see a stranded whale, dead or alive, call 0800 DOC HOT.

The remains of the whale have since been recovered by the sea.

Learn more about New Zealand whales and DOC’s role in protecting them.

Background information

Whales and other wildlife can carry viruses and pathogens that are dangerous to humans. All personnel working with carcasses should wear PPE for protection.

Protect yourself and your whānau by keeping a respectful distance and not handling any part of the dead animal.

Penalties for violating the Marine Mammal Protection Act can be up to two years in prison or a fine of up to $ 250,000.

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