A dead bottlenose dolphin has been found at the southeast end of Ferguson Park in Tauranga today, just days after a large pod of bottlenose dolphins entertained thousands of people at Turret road.
Finder Simon Wagner believes the Ferguson Park dolphin has been dead for some time by the condition and smell of it.
Bottlenose dolphins are rare visitors to Tauranga Harbour in numbers.
The last recorded instance of a pod being seen in the upper harbour for any length of time was back in 1997 when a dolphins spent a weekend in the tide pool near the Silver Birch Holiday Park.
In that visit several dolphins stranded in the estuary over that weekend, and one died. Five stranded and were re-floated but a female beached and died near the top of the estuary.
A local paper reported that the surviving dolphins circled the area all day including a calf found near the dead animal and re-floated by those first on the scene. Volunteers tied ropes round their tales and dragged them back to the water.
Friday’s dolphins were gone from near the Silver Birch Holiday Park by Saturday morning, but they were seen near the harbour bridge on Monday.
Bottlenose dolphins are an endangered species. There are only about 450 in New Zealand waters between the Bay of islands and Whakatane, and are less common that Maui dolphins. There are fewer than 1200 that range the New Zealand coastline altogether.