The death of nine killer whales in Southland is a blow to New
Zealand's small orca population, the Department of
The whales were seen swimming in shallow water at Te Waewae
bay near Tuatapere yesterday evening, DoC spokesman Reuben
By midnight, they had beached at Blue Cliffs beach.
When DoC staff arived at 1am, the eight adults and one
juvenile whale had died, he said.
"In terms of endangered species, there's only 200 in the
local population. Nine out of 200 - it's a bit of an impact
on the population and it's unfortunate."
DoC staff had consulted with local iwi before removing one of
the whale carcasses and taking DNA samples for research
purposes, Mr Williams said.
No other whales had been seen swimming in the area.