Lonely Planet Writer

Whale with missing tail spotted off the coast of New Zealand

A whale with a significant portion of its tail missing has been spotted off the coast of New Zealand.

"One of our crew Viraj managed to get some pics of the humpback whale that is close inshore currently. It is amazing how well it can move around despite missing quite a lot of its tail".
“One of our crew Viraj managed to get some pics of the humpback whale that is close inshore currently. It is amazing how well it can move around despite missing quite a lot of its tail”. Image by Whale Watch Kaikoura

The humpback was seen by whale watchers near Kaikoura on the South Island and images were posted to the Facebook group Whale Watch Kaikoura. While it seems a whale would struggle greatly without so much of its tail, the page states that “it is amazing how well it can move around despite missing quite a lot of its tail”.

"One of our crew Viraj managed to get some pics of the humpback whale that is close inshore currently. It is amazing how well it can move around despite missing quite a lot of its tail".
“One of our crew Viraj managed to get some pics of the humpback whale that is close inshore currently. It is amazing how well it can move around despite missing quite a lot of its tail”. Image by Whale Watch Kaikoura

The BBC reports that a Department of Conservation ranger told the new agency that it’s unclear how the injury happened, but it could have been the result of becoming tangled in fishing nets; however the whale appears to be in good health and any cause is currently undetermined. As the wounds appear to be healed, the injury doesn’t seem to be affecting the animal very much.

Humpback whales pass New Zealand as they migrate between Antarctica in the summer and the South Pacific in the winter, reports The Telegraph. Anyone in a boat in the area is asked to keep their distance in order to protect the animal.