A person has tried to cut teeth out of a male orca carcass after it became stranded in Tauranga Harbour.
Orca (file image)
Source: 1 NEWS
The orca, named Moby, was the first orca to have died in the harbour on December 3, according to NZ Herald and was buried three days later.
Karl McCarthy, Tauranga's Department of Conservation's Biodiversity Ranger said the illegal act is "pretty disappointing".
"Unfortunately because Moby was found in a remote location, without someone coming forward with information we do not have any leads to launch any investigation," he said.
The founder of the Orca Research Trust, Dr Ingrid Visser said it was "very distasteful" for someone to try and cut out his teeth.
"It's a poor reflection on that individual and they should be ashamed of their actions."
"This is a very sad time for us all, but I am grateful for the respect that Moby was shown by those who cared about him," she said.
Moby was buried in a site that is of cultural importance to local iwi but remains undisclosed due to the fear of someone removing his teeth.
Ms Visser said local iwi had rights to take bone and teeth from the orca but they agreed not to do so.
Moby was a regular visitor to Manukau and Hokianga harbours.