A humpback whale with a missing tail near Kaikoura has bewildered experts.
Department of Conservation Kaikoura ranger Mike Morrissey went out by boat on Monday after a reported sighting of a whale without a tail.
Morrissey estimated the whale was about 2 or 3-years-old.
Despite the severe injury, the whale appeared relaxed and was moving well.
The flukes could have severed from the tail as a result of the whale getting tangled up in rope. However, it would be impossible to determine the exact cause of the injury.