A six-metre whale washed ashore at The Pass last month has been identified as a Cuvier's beaked whale and it is only the second recorded stranding in NSW.
National Parks and Wildlife Service officer, Lawrence Orel, said DNA sequencing by Southern Cross University had confirmed the Cuviers' beaked whale Ziphius cavirostris.
Mr Orel said although they had been recorded in other states, the only other positive record of a Cuvier's whale stranding in NSW was in the Sydney region in 1885.
He said the 1800 kilogram female died shortly after washing ashore at the Pass at Byron Bay despite the efforts of locals and authorities.
"The whale was removed from the beach with and taken to the NPWS service centre where an autopsy was undertaken," he said.
"A severe number of large kidney stones found in the left kidney and it appears most likely that the animal died as a result of kidney failure.
"Although it was difficult to immediately identify the animal it has still raised considerable interest among whale researchers due to the extreme rarity of any species of beaked whale stranding."
Mr Orel said there was considerable interest from universities and other re- search organisations throughout Australia and researchers were already planning to study the animal.
He said as all species of beaked whales were so rarely seen, little was known about them.