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Humpback whale with missing tail spotted in New Zealand

By Daniel Uria   |   March 16, 2016 at 3:52 PM

KAIKOURA , New Zealand, March 16 (UPI) -- A whale-watching group in New Zealand spotted a humpback whale with no tail swimming in a bay in New Zealand.

Whale Watch Kaikoura shared photos of the whale to Facebook, noting that the whale appeared to move well despite lacking a tail.

"One of our crew Viraj managed to get some pics of the humpback whale that is close inshore currently," they wrote. "It is amazing how well it can move around despite missing quite a lot of its tail."

The whale was about 22 feet long, and local ranger Mike Morrissey told Stuff.co.nz that he was unsure how it managed to lose so much of its tail.

"It's bewildering as to how it came to lose both its tail flukes," he said.

He mentioned that whales can become caught in fishing gear, such as nets and other objects, that can cause severe injuries.

Morrissey also told the BBC that he believed the whale suffered the injuries approximately a year ago.

"This is a young whale and it has healed up. It doesn't seem to have affected it much at all," he said.

Morrisey said if it was simply getting ahead on migration this may not be the last researchers will see of the whale.

"If it's migrating, then we'll see it again," he said.

One of our crew Viraj managed to get some pics of the humpback whale that is close inshore currently. It is amazing how...

Posted by Whale Watch Kaikoura on Monday, March 14, 2016
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