WELLINGTON, New Zealand – The carcass of a rare blue whale washed ashore in southern New Zealand after it apparently died of old age, a marine expert said Thursday.
The body — with bite wounds and its tail chewed off — already had been attacked by scavengers ahead of the rare stranding on New Zealand's South Island, Te Papa National Museum expert Anton van Helden told National Radio.
"It's ... probably the biggest recorded to have come ashore on the New Zealand coast," he said.
Fewer than 2,000 blue whales — the largest mammals known to have lived — remain from a population of 200,000 in 1900.
Saturday, May 30, 2009
More Whale News: Rare Blue Whale Found Dead on NZ Beach"
Rare blue whale found dead on New Zealand beach">Rare Blue Whale Found Dead on New Zealand Beach