A male bronze whaler shark has been washed up on an Auckland beach, two days after its female mate was found dead nearby.
The 2.5m-long male shark was found dead on the beach near the Devonport wharf yesterday afternoon.
Department of Conservation scientist Clinton Duffy said it was a male bronze whaler, the same breed as a 3m-long female bronze whaler shark found dead at nearby Stanley Bay on Sunday.
He said residents who found the female reported that they also saw a second shark but it was too far out into the harbour to retrieve. That appeared to be the male shark finally washed up yesterday.
"There's a good chance that the male was interested in the female. They do get together at this time of year," he said.
Devonport resident Jake Coleman, who measured the male shark with his brother Tom, said he found it still in the water at about 5.30pm yesterday.
"We dragged it out of the water and put it on the beach," he said.
"It was already dead, it looked quite recent. It stunk pretty bad as well."
Coleman said he had never seen a beached shark before the first one washed up on Sunday.
"The female one was the first beached shark we've seen, and all of a sudden two days later there's another one," he said.
"Especially with all the whales, I'm a bit stunned about it, I have no idea what's happening."
The shark beachings come only days after 145 pilot whales were found on a remote beach on Stewart Island on Saturday. All were either already dead or were killed by the Conservation Department because they were in poor condition and unable to be refloated.
However, the department saved six of 10 pygmy killer whales found on Ninety Mile Beach on Sunday, transporting them across the island to an east coast beach where they were successfully refloated.
Duffy said the pygmy killer whale stranding was extremely unusual because the pygmies were normally found only in the tropics.
"There have only been one or two previous records of individuals being recorded from New Zealand before," he said.
But he said bronze whaler sharks were the most common large shark species around the northern North Island and were sometimes reported in groups of more than 100.
"The females come inshore to pup," he said.
"From what we can work out, they mate fairly soon after pupping, so there were probably a few males hanging around inshore hoping to get lucky."
He said the male and female sharks were probably both caught by a fisherman, either in a net or on a line, although no hooks had been found yet.
The female that was taken to Massey University was not examined yesterday as planned because experts were diverted to help with the whale stranding at Ninety Mile Beach.
Duffy said the male would not be examined because it was "too far gone".
"It has probably been dead as long as the female and they go off very quickly," he said.
He said bronze whalers had small teeth and were known as Narrow Tooth Sharks in some countries. They fed on fish such as snapper, trevally and kahawai and were not usually a threat to humans unless they were competing for fish.
"I've been in the water with up to 13 of them. If there is no bait on you and no struggling fish, the worst you would get is a mild curiosity," he said.
But he said there was one recorded death of a spear fisherman at Te Kaha in the Bay of Plenty who died after a bronze whaler bit both his legs as he was lifting a fish into his boat in 1971.