Mystery of Pass whale uncovered
SCIENTISTS have positively identified Byron Bay's mystery beached whale.
The 6.1 metre female whale found beached at the Pass last month, is a Cuviers Beaked Whale.
This is only the second time this species has been recorded stranding in NSW.
"Although it was difficult to immediately identify the animal, it has still raised considerable interest among whale researchers due to the extreme rarity of any species of beaked whale stranding," National Parks and Wildlife Service officer Lawrence Orel said.
The whale's species had been identified by Southern Cross University researchers using DNA sequencing.
"Although they have been recorded in other states, the only other positive record of a Cuviers whale stranding in NSW was in the Sydney region in 1885," Mr Orel said.
The female Byron Bay whale, weighing 1.8 tonnes, died shortly after washing ashore at the Pass at Byron, despite efforts to push her back out to sea.
A severe number of large kidney stones were found in the left kidney, and it appears most likely the animal died as a result of kidney failure.
The whale's body will now be studied as beaked whales are so rarely seen, little is known about them, Mr Orel said.
Cuviers Beaked Whales can grow to over seven metres in length.