It was earlier blogged that the wounds on the whale were from cookie cutter sharks.
Te Papa’s Fish collection manager, Andrew Stewart, came to have a look and this is his expert opinion:
‘Based on where the whale came ashore, the scars are probably from the cookie cutter rather than the seal shark (a larger shark species found in colder waters).
Many marine mammals carry the scars from encounters with these sharks. They have been likened to a swarm of wasps as these sharks sometimes occur in schools.
Tuna fishermen hate them as the bites can significantly reduce the market value of their fish. Fortunately for whales, a thick layer of blubber affords some protection from these unique predators!’