Unidentified whale sighted 26 September, 2000, off the coast of Rarotonga, Cook Islands
This mysterious cetacean was seen off the shores of Rarotonga 26 September 2000. It moved through the water like a sei whale, the size resembled a minke whale, the head looked like a blue whale and the chevron resembled a fin whale. We've never been able to identify the species. We have many still shots and video footage of the animal (see below and click on the images for detail). In early January of 2004, it occured to some of the geneticists at the University of Auckland that this might possibly be a live Balaenoptera omurai. Tadasu Yamada and Nan Hauser are working together to confirm this possibility.
Article on B. omurai by Wada, Oishi and Yamada, published in Nature, 20 November 2003.