A GIGANTIC sperm whale has been found washed up on a New Zealand beach.
The massive 12 metre mammal was discovered by locals near the Kapiti Boat Club on Paraparaumu Beach on Wednesday and hundreds gathered to see it.
Te Papa collection manager of marine mammals, Anton van Helden, said it was probably an old whale given the wear on its teeth and scarring around its head.
He said: “They’re obviously significant animals, it’s the world’s largest toothed predator and certainly, it’s a significant thing for the local community.
“The likely cause of death would be the event of the stranding itself and probably suffocation in the sand.
Department of Conservation (DoC) staff have been carrying out tests on the whale this morning and have had to cordon it off so people don’t touch it.
DoC Wellington Biodiversity ranger Brent Tandy said:
“Once that’s gone, we’ll probably just break it up into bits and bury it. It’s too big to move in one piece. It will be a bit gruesome.
“Then we’ll need to find a section of the beach which isn’t an archeological site, because there are archeological sites along the beach among the dunes, so we’ll need to find a site that’s suitable for burying it.
“And slightly more remote because it will still smell - you can’t dig it deep enough to get rid of the smell.’’