A dead whale estimated to be 46 feet (14 meters) long was carried into New Zealand’s Port of Tauranga on the bow of a Maersk container ship on Wednesday.
The local Department of Conservation (DOC) says the Bryde’s whale was dead when the ship berthed. The death is viewed as an “unfortunate incident at sea,” says DOC, and the carcass has been removed.
The 4,250 TEUs Lexa Maersk sailed from Brisbane, Australia, and it is not known where she encountered the whale.
There are no agreed population estimates for Bryde’s whales in any ocean basin, but numbers are possibly in the tens of thousands worldwide. They are considered locally common in New Zealand waters, where they feed on schooling fish and krill. They reach 12-15 meters in length and a weight of 13-22 tons with females being larger than males.