Whale stranding: DoC rescue efforts under way at Coromandel beach

Authorities are working to help a whale stranded in shallow water at a Coromandel beach.

The Department of Conservation was alerted to the whale at Te Kouma, just south of Coromandel Town at about 6.30am.

DoC staff at the scene have confirmed this to be a southern bottlenose whale.

It is about 9m long.

"This is, we believe, an old male, based on extensive historical healed battle scars," said Professor Karen Stockin, director of the Cetacean Ecology Research Group at Massey University.

"These aren't whales we see around NZ very often and certainly not in shallow coastal waters.

"While this whale has made it off the beach and towards open waters, it is very possible this same whale will wash up sadly somewhere else."

A DoC spokesperson said staff were at the scene.

"We have the situation under control and although we appreciate the public's support – there have been onlookers at the scene – we do not require any assistance," the spokesperson said.

The DoC spokesperson said the whale was "energetic" and had been attempting to free itself, but the water was currently not deep enough for it to swim.

"The tide is coming in fairly quickly - high tide is expected in Coromandel Harbour at 1.17pm. The water level is crucial to the whale getting back out to sea," they said.

"Once that water level rises, we will aim to get the whale refloated and shepherd it back out to sea. We have boats on the way to help with this approach."

According to DoC, this kind of stranding is unusual.

Earlier today people were in the water using buckets to keep the whale wet and they were not sure it was alive.

Stockin earlier posted on Facebook about the stranding.

"We are monitoring this presently," she wrote.

"Looks like a very emaciated critter from these rather distant blurry distant images.

"This doesn't bode well for this individual sadly, even when successfully pushed back out unfortunately."


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