Shepherd's beaked whales are primarily known from a few dozen strandings, all south of 30°S, around New Zealand, southern Australia, southern South America, the Juan Fernandez Islands, and Tristan de Cunha (Mead 1989). There have been only a few sightings reported in the literature and the validity of most of those is suspect (or clearly erroneous. The confirmed sightings have been from south of Tasmania and in oceanic waters of the South Atlantic (Pitman et al. 2006). The majority of strandings have occurred in New Zealand. It is presumed that they have a circumpolar distribution in cold temperate waters of the Southern Hemisphere (MacLeod et al. 2006). It is possible that the species may be somewhat more widespread than the records suggest, since it was not likely to be accurately identified at sea until its recent re-description (Pitman et al. 2006).
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