Our Latest News

Visitor safety under the spotlight in new walker safety video

16/04/2018

Visitor safety in Tasmania's national parks and reserves has received a major investment with a suite of projects, including a new feature video on bushwalking preparation and safety.More

Draft Frenchmans Cap Recreation Zone Plan 2018

12/04/2018

The Parks and Wildlife Service has released the Draft Recreation Zone Plan 2018 for the Frenchmans Cap area.More

Redeveloped Lake Tahune Hut now open

12/04/2018

A locally designed and built, energy-efficient and sustainable hut is now welcoming bushwalkers at Lake Tahune on the Frenchmans Cap Track in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.More

Cuviers Beaked Whale

Stranded Cuviers Beaked Whale
Cuviers Beaked Whale is also known as the Goose-beaked Whale, due to the head profile which is slightly concave with the lower jaw curving upwards and extending past the upper jaw. Males have a single pair of triangular teeth which may be used in fighting. The males reach 10m in length and weigh up to 3 tonnes. They look like an oversized dolphin with a robust, cigar-shaped body and small sickle-shaped fin. The small flippers can be tucked into a slight depression along the flanks. Like other beaked whales they have large tail flukes. They are generally dark slate grey in males and slightly reddish brown in females. Males in particular tend to have lots of paler lines on them due to fighting with other males and Cookie Cutter Shark bites. Older males often have an almost white head and neck. They are difficult to detect as they only spend a short time on the surface and dive for 40 minutes at a time. Occasionally while swimming quickly, they project their heads above the surface allowing the concave, whitish face and very short beak to be noted. Before deep diving they lift their tail fins vertically and arch their back often exposing the characteristic scars and dorsal fin. They have a low, bushy, inconspicuous blow about 1m high so is rarely spotted.

General Information

Distribution map of sightings and strandings (click to enlarge)
Although usually seen singly they can occur in groups of up to seven. They are generally an open ocean species and rarely sighted in Tasmanian waters preferring areas of depths greater than 1km. Newborns are 2.7m at birth and reach maturity at about 5m (11 years) and can live up to nearly 50 years in age. They feed mainly on squid in Australian waters.

Stranding Information

Tasmania has the highest incidence of Australia's Cuviers Beaked Whale strandings with over 20 recorded events. Strandings always occur as a single, dead animal. Their method of sucking in squid during feeding puts them at high risk of ingesting plastic leading to starvation. Cuviers Beaked Whales have been recorded in mass strandings with other species such as in the Bahamas which may be linked to traumatic environmental events. In such incidents they often show bleeding from the ear as they are very sensitive to sound having an acoustic surface inside the mouth. They are deep diving animals which can be affected by pressure trauma.