The body of a young dolphin that washed up on an Auckland beach is thought to be a critically endangered Maui dolphin.
The Department of Conservation said a member of the public found the dolphin on Kaioitahi Beach north of Port Waikato yesterday.
Spokesperson Ian Angus said the dolphin has been there for sometime and may be too decomposed to determine how it died.
If it is confirmed to be a Maui dolphin, it will be the third death this year.
One dolphin died from pregnancy complications, and another from a shark attack.
There are fewer than 100 maui dophins left and they are only found on the West Coast of the North Island.