The Department of Conservation is appealing for information after a gray's beaked whale was found washed up on the South Island, with its beak removed.
A gray's beaked whale has washed up on a South Island beach, with its beak sawed off.
The five-metre whale, which was found on a Greymouth beach, had its beak removed with a chainsaw around Saturday, the Department of Conservation says.
It's issued a reminder saying it's an offence to take a whalebone or any part of a marine mammal without a permit.
A DOC spokeswoman says staff have seen whale parts taken from time to time, such as a jawbone, which could be due to curiosity - while others may be looking to sell the whale teeth, which is illegal.
The department is also warning people about the risks of touching whale carcasses and that dead rotting whales can carry diseases that contaminated skin and clothing.
DOC suggests staying about five metres away from a carcass and to avoid walking in any sand and water that might be contaminated.