Tauranga Department of Conservation (DOC) staff removed a dolphin carcass suspected to be that of Moko the friendly the bottlenose dolphin, from Matakana Island this afternoon.
They will be sending it to Massey University for autopsy in an effort to confirm what might have caused his death and if it actually is Moko.
“Wild dolphins, like Moko, face numerous risks in their daily lives and from time to time carcasses such as this wash up on our shores. We wouldn’t usually go to such lengths but have decided to on this occasion because of the public interest and affinity with Moko, and haved gained support from the local iwi to do so” says DOC Tauranga Area Manager, Andrew Baucke.
“The carcass has started to decay and may have been dead for as long as two weeks, so for now our identification is based on the size, markings, sex and teeth of the carcass”. Findings from the autopsy are expected to be received later next week.
DOC Community Relations Programme Manager, Katrina Knill says that interest is building about what will be done with the remains; “This is really sad, a large number of people feel strongly connected to Moko. We’ll be looking into what’s most practical and appropriate over the next few days.”
For background information about Moko and bottlenose dolphin in general, please see http://www.doc.govt.nz/conservation/native-animals/marine-mammals/dolphins/bottlenose-dolphin/