Morgan Tait

Morgan Tait is the NZ Herald's consumer affairs reporter.

NZ 'sea monster' sparks global media frenzy

The rotting remains of a killer whale washed ashore a New Zealand beach is causing a global media frenzy after the giant corpse was dubbed a "sea monster''.

A Bay of Plenty resident with the YouTube name Elizabeth Ann filmed the creature on Pukehina Beach, south of Tauranga, late last month after stormy weather.

The video - that showed a partly decomposed carcass about 9m long with sizeable fins and a large jaw with only some jagged teeth still attached - went viral this week, as international media dubbed its subject a monster.

The Daily Mail called the decaying mass a "mysterious 30 foot long rotting sea monster with huge teeth,'' the New York Daily News described a "monster from the deep'' and Express.co.uk asked: "Is this a sea monster from the darkest depths of the ocean?''

Other outlets publishing the tale were The Sun, Science World Report, TopNews Arab Emirates, International Business Times, and Huffington Post.

The caption posted with the video asked viewer to help identify the remains, describing it as having "a huge head and teeth with rudimentary flippers''.

"It seems about 9m in length but the lower part of the body is probably mainly entrails from an attack.''

Experts quoted in the stories guessed the carcass to be anything from a saltwater crocodile, giant moray eel, or a dinosaur, before a number of marine scientists said the tell-tale fin was that of an Orca whale.

The Department of Conservation and Kelly Tarlton's Aquarium were involved in analysis, and the remains have since washed out to sea.

Orca are common in most oceans and frequent New Zealand coastlines.

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