Posts categorized as Whales

Our Far South: What it boils down to

  • Elephant seals and regenerating tussock. Victor Anderlini.
  • Elephant seals on the tussock flats. Victor Anderlini.
  • Aurora australis. Photo WWF.
  • King penguins surrounding the zodiac. Photo Anton van Helden, copyright Te Papa.

We arrived at Macquarie Island - the sheltered waters in the lee of the island provided a welcome relief from the open ocean we had crossed between here and the Auckland Islands. The cool subantarctic summer did not detract from the spectacular wildlife – elephant seals and penguins everywhere! Until 1920 the elephant seals and penguins… Read more »

Our Far South: from shipwrecks to high seas

  • Heading south. Image WWF.
  • Adams Island in fog, Carnley Harbour. Photo Anton van Helden, copyright Te Papa
  • Wreck of the Grafton. Photo Anton van Helden, copyright Te Papa.
  • Becalmed in Carnley Harbour. Photo Anton van Helden, copyright Te Papa

I awoke to find that the boat had moved over night to the bottom end of the Auckland Islands, into Carnley harbour, with Adams island to our south. Adams island is home to Gibson’s wandering albatross – DNA research is currently being carried out to determine if Gibson’s Albatross is distinct from other wandering albatross species…. Read more »

Our Far South

  • Auckland Islands sign and NZ sea lion pup. Photo Anton van Helden. © Te Papa
  • Elephant Seal  Auckland Islands 1995. Photo Anton van Helden .© Te Papa
  • Auckland Islands sign and pup
  • Sandy Bay Enderby Is Auckland Islands 1995

Welcome to Our Far South. This coming Friday I will be standing on the dock at Bluff, looking south, and about to board a boat heading to the sub-Antarctic Islands and the great white continent itself as part of the Our Far South project (www.ourfarsouth.org). What will I see? We all know about Stewart Island… Read more »

Animal and plant collections

Te Papa’s Natural Environment team have revamped their webpages. You can access them here. Collection highlights online include: Big fish Medicinal ferns of the second Maori king Unique bird eggs and skeletons Colossal squid Plants collected during Captain Cook’s first expedition GV Hudson insect collection Nests of extinct birds The following links will take you… Read more »

Taranga / Hen Island – 1933 and 2010 – In the footsteps of Edgar Stead (Part 1)

  • 4. Tuatara, Hen Island, December 2010. Photo: Colin Miskelly.
  • 5. Rat-eaten Amborhytida tarangaensis snail, Hen Island, December 2010. Photo: Colin Miskelly.
  • 1. Roland Stead fishing in Dragon Mouth Cove, Hen Island, December 1933. Photo: Edgar Stead. Macmillan collection, 2001.59.381, Canterbury Museum. Permission of Canterbury Museum, Christchurch, New Zealand must be obtained before any re-use of this image.
  • 3. Pycroft’s petrel, Hen Island, December 2010. Photo: Colin Miskelly.

Edgar Stead (1881-1949) was a Canterbury naturalist famous (among other things) for exhuming the enormous Okarito blue whale skeleton now in Canterbury Museum, breeding the Ilam strain of rhododendrons and azaleas, and being an astute observer of New Zealand birds. His magnificent homestead ‘Ilam’ is now the Canterbury University staff club, and was the main… Read more »

Rare dolphin found on Canterbury beach

Rare Hourglass dolphin found dead at Flea Bay in Canterbury.  Photo reproduced courtesy of Department of Conservation.

On the weekend down in Canterbury, apart from the horrific earthquake, there was an extremely unusual dolphin stranding. A 1.8m male Hourglass dolphin came ashore at Flea Bay. Only a handful of complete specimens of this species have ever been dissected before. Although they are sometimes seen in the Southern Ocean around Antarctica, they very rarely… Read more »

Dissecting a killer whale 2

  • Dr Steven Raverty discusses bruising sites with Dr Ingrid Visser and Anton van Helden. © Te Papa, 2010
  • The killer whale calf's tail fin. © Te Papa, 2010
  • Anton van Helden points to a blood clot on the whale's head. © Te Papa, 2010
  • The baby killer whale's tongue with the whitish flaps along the tip and sides. © Te Papa, 2010

PLEASE NOTE THAT THE FOLLOWING IMAGES MAY BE DISTURBING The dissection of the killer whale finished yesterday.  This killer whale was very young when it stranded and died.  It was given to Te Papa by Te Runanga o Makaawhio and measured just over two metres long. Its tongue had flaps like the pygmy right whale I… Read more »