A pygmy sperm whale has died after stranding on a Hawke's Bay beach.
The female whale, around two to three metres in length, was eventually euthanised after a fight to save it on Mahia Beach on Thursday.
Department of Conservation Gisborne operations manager John Lucas said they received a call regarding a whale stranding on Mahia Beach on Thursday morning.
"During the nationwide lockdown the department's ability to respond in the usual manner to injured wildlife will be constrained and our advice in most cases will be to let nature take its course," he said.
"In this instance, it was deemed appropriate for a trained DoC ranger to respond."
Lucas said the whale was assessed by the DoC ranger and, due to the situation and its condition, the decision was made to euthanise it.
"DoC's emergency hotline is still operating as an essential service and responses to incidents of injured wildlife and marine mammals, including whale and dolphin strandings, are assessed on a case by case basis," Lucas said.
According to DoC, the pygmy sperm whale is a very common species to strand in New Zealand, but particularly at Mahia peninsula.
As an offshore, deep-water species, it's possible that animals that come close to shore and strand in New Zealand might have underlying health issues.
Stranded animals of this species often pass away naturally or need to be euthanised.
As Mahia is a common place for these species to strand, it indicates that the whales probably live offshore in the Hikurangi trench, according to DoC.
Pygmy sperm whales, who are very rarely seen at sea as they are believed to live offshore in deep water, are very inconspicuous when they surface and mostly feed on squid.