13 May 2013

Rare shark with 12 pups found at Muriwai

1:42 pm on 13 May 2013

A whitetip shark that washed up on Muriwai Beach is being described as an exceptional find by the Department of Conservation.

She is the only one of her species ever to have been found on a New Zealand beach and was pregnant with 12 pups.

DoC shark specialist Clinton Duffy says the whitetip shark usually lives in tropical waters and has become endangered due to its popularity in shark-fin soup.

He says the man-eating shark is considered dangerous and will eat anything.

Mr Duffy says the person who found the shark tried to save the pups and delivered them when he saw one sticking out, but they did not survive.

Mr Duffy says he was astounded by the discovery and as far as he's aware it's the first specimen to come ashore anywhere in New Zealand and definitely the first pregnant one.

He says the whitetip shark had reached the maximum reported size for its species in the southern hemisphere.

The shark will be embalmed for research at the Auckland Museum of Natural Sciences .

Museum spokesperson Tom Trnski says pups will also be used to find out more about the species, especially its diet and anatomy.

Mr Trnski says Auckland iwi Ngati Whatua gifted the shark to the museum.