26 Jun 2013

Rare dolphin found stranded

4:10 pm on 26 June 2013

A rare dolphin - the same species as the legendary Pelorus Jack - has been discovered off the remote north-west Nelson coast.

The Risso's dolphin was discovered stranded by five trampers last weekend at Kahurangi Point.

The trampers managed to move the struggling dolphin to a nearby stream but a Department of Conservation ranger who went to inspect it found it dead. The ranger identified it as a Risso's dolphin.

Pelorus Jack became famous more than 100 years ago for accompanying ships in the Cook Strait area.

He met vessels bound for Nelson at Pelorus Sound in the Marlborough Sounds and escorted them as far as the entrance to the treacherous waters of French Pass.

He did this for 24 years and was the first dolphin in the world to be protected by law.

Only 17 Risso's dolphins are recorded to have been found stranded on the New Zealand coast since 1846.