19 Oct 2018

Critter of the Week The Pygmy Blue Whale

From Jesse Mulligan, 1–4pm, 3:29 pm on 19 October 2018

Until recently, it was believed that the pygmy blue whales seen in the South Taranaki Bight were just animals passing through the area.  Research from a detailed, multipronged study published earlier this year instead shows these whales belong to a genetically distinct, New Zealand population.  Nicola Toki, DOC’s Threatened Species Ambassador, tells us that they are making the most of a special oceanic ‘upwelling’ that supplies them with food.

Pygmy blue whale spotted off the coast of Cape Farewell.

Pygmy blue whale spotted off the coast of Cape Farewell. Photo: SUPPLIED/ Leigh Torres

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