Iwi key in demanding whale autopsies
|06 Jan 2017 08:54 AM|
|Project Jonah workers help to save stranded whale|
Sea Shepherd is calling on iwi to demand to know what is killing whales around New Zealand’s coasts over summer.
Michael Lawry, the anti-whaling group’s New Zealand director, says there has been a spate of whale strandings as well as unusual sitings close to shore of sperm and beaked whales which usually lives in waters over a kilometer deep.
He says this coincides with the intensive seismic surveys being doing done by oil exploration firms on both sides of the Cook Strait.
Mr Lawry says iwi have a right to call for necropsies, and oil companies should pay any costs.
“It shouldn’t be up to scientists, iwi, NGOs and the people of New Zealand to have to kick up a stink to ensure this happens. It should be a given,” he says.
A rare Shepherd's Beaked whale was stranded at Caroline Bay near Timaru on December 27, and a young fully grown male sperm whale stranded in Nelson three days later.
A 14 metre Pygmy Blue whale washed up on a South Taranaki beach on December 28, but could have died several weeks earlier,
Amazon Warrior, the largest seismic testing ship in the world, has been blasting off the east coast since November on behalf of Statoil and Chevron.
PGS is surveying in the South Taranaki Bight, which is a recovering breeding and feeding ground for blue whales.
Former WhaleWatch Kaikoura guide Gemma McGrath says a stranding is a tohu, and any sperm whale strandings need to be matched with the photo-IDs of whales recorded at Kaikoura.