You are here: HomeRescues → 2010, December 24, Pygmy killer whale, Ninety Mile Beach, Northland

Found on Ninety Mile Beach by Ali and Cameron Perkins and their eco-tourist discovered this already-dead cetacean.  They took diagnostic photographs and reported their find.  As soon as Dr Visser saw the photographs she was able to identify it as a pygmy killer whale - the first time this species had been recorded (dead or alive) in New Zealand waters.

She immediately contacted Anton van Helden, the curartor of marine mammals at Te Papa Tongarewa (the National Museum of New Zealand).  Despite being based down in Wellington, Anton began the long drive north immediately and on the 31st of Dec he conducted a full boning out of the skeleton, with Dr Visser assisting.

Rescue Images
Quick Facts

Name Pygmy killer whale
Pygmy killer whale
Suborder Odontoceti
Family Delphinidae
Max. size - Male 2.6 m (8.5 ft)
Calf size 80 cm (2.6 ft)
Max. weight - Male 225 kg
Food mixed diet of squid and fish
Latin name Feresa atenuata
Location Ninety Mile Beach, Nortland
Latitude -35.01385070000001
Longitude 173.15840609999998
Number of Whales 1 (Already dead)
At this rescue

Dr. Ingrid N. Visser – Whale Rescue Co-Founder

Dr. Ingrid N. Visser – Whale Rescue Co-Founder

Ingrid has attended numerous mass and individual strandings.  She is experienced in sampling and data collection at these events, and in the use of refloatation Rescue Pontoons and other rescue equipment.  She has served on the Board and was a trainer for another stranding rescue group.


With special thanks to

Ngati Kuri (Northland Iwi), who have allowed for the skeleton of this cetacean to be part of the permanent collection at Te Papa Tongarewa.  Therefore Te Papa Tongarewa will be guardians of the specimen on their behalf.  

Department of Conservation kindly secured the carcass and provided a site the boning out could be peformed.

Thanks also to Wade Doak for passing on the photographs and to Ali and Cameron Perkins for making the effort to take them in the first place and for their efforts to report this very valuable event.

Location of Rescue

Help Us

Whale Rescue is a volunteer organisation, run by volunteers. There are lots of different ways that you can help us to continue rescuing whales and dolphins.

Find out more ››