Humpback whale with no tail spotted off New Zealand

A humpback whale with a missing tail was recently spotted off Kaikoura.

In a press release by New Zealand’s Department of conservation, the whale’s tail flukes were missing. It, however, appeared relaxed and was moving well.

According to Department of Consevation ranger Mike Morrissey, the whale was around two to three years old. It appeared that the wounds had healed, which means that the whale lost it some time ago.

“What was left of the whale’s tail was tapered like an arrow tip. It’s bewildering as to how it came to lose both its tail flukes,” Morrissey said. “Fortunately, the whale wasn’t showing any signs of distress. It was swimming well and breaching, diving and rolling as humpback whales typically do.”

Morrissey explains that one possibility is that the whale got tangled up in a rope, but there is really no knowing for sure what really happened.

Sightings of the same whale were reported again yesterday.

Learn more about humpback whales here.

The DOC is asking boaties to keep their distance from the whale–at least 50 metres away–to protect it.

The press release added that it is believed that the whale will move north from Kaikoura, as whales have reportedly started migrating to their South Pacific breeding grounds.

Those who may spot the whale are encouraged to report the sighting to DOC so movements can be tracked. The 24-hour hotline is 0800 36 24 68.