Giant of the deep laid to rest

The scale of the undertaking to bury the whale can be seen as three diggers work among the dunes. Wairoa Star pictures
The sperm whale was thought to be in poor health and believed to have come ashore to die.

THREE diggers were required to dig a huge hole to bury the sperm whale that died on Mahia Beach on Saturday morning.

Department of Conservation biodiversity ranger Jamie Quirk said the 16.1-metre leviathan, thought to be 40 to 80 years old and weigh 40 tonnes, was believed to be male due to its size. It is not clear how the whale became stranded but Mr Quirk said it was in a poor condition and may have died of old age.

On Sunday the whale’s carcass was brought further up on to the beach and its jawbone and teeth were removed and given to local iwi.

Mahia Beach was a common whale stranding area, Mr Quirk said.

The Mahia Peninsula acted like the barb in a the large hook that was Hawke’s Bay. Sperm whales like this one were seen on the beach about every four or five years.

THREE diggers were required to dig a huge hole to bury the sperm whale that died on Mahia Beach on Saturday morning.

Department of Conservation biodiversity ranger Jamie Quirk said the 16.1-metre leviathan, thought to be 40 to 80 years old and weigh 40 tonnes, was believed to be male due to its size. It is not clear how the whale became stranded but Mr Quirk said it was in a poor condition and may have died of old age.

On Sunday the whale’s carcass was brought further up on to the beach and its jawbone and teeth were removed and given to local iwi.

Mahia Beach was a common whale stranding area, Mr Quirk said.

The Mahia Peninsula acted like the barb in a the large hook that was Hawke’s Bay. Sperm whales like this one were seen on the beach about every four or five years.

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