Beached humpback whale euthanized

Whale carcass towed to secluded spot to allow Namibia Dolphin Project to carry out research.

25 August 2019 | Local News

Walvis Bay • Leandrea Louw
An adult humpback whale that beached at Independence Beach in Walvis Bay on Wednesday, was euthanized during the early hours of Saturday morning.
On Friday morning the last attempt to refloat the animal was abandoned. Local boat owner Allan Louw, made his boat – the Searaker – available to move the whale as it was showing some activity, essentially free floating so able to move if willing. However, the whale had dug itself into a hole and it was just not possible to force it to move without injury. In time the exercise was called off as the whale became extremely agitated.

Euthanasia
The whale was euthanized on the beach by means of a low grade explosive being placed in its blowhole. This is done because a whale’s skull is too thick to shoot it through the brain and its blubber is too thick to inject it with a lethal cocktail.
Following the procedure, the carcass was moved from the beach to a secluded site where the Namibian Dolphin Project team are taking some final measurements and samples.
According to Dorothy Fourie, field officer of the Namibian Dolphin Project, signs indicate natural causes and extreme emaciation [it was very skinny]. They said that there have been several beachings of humpback whales in a similar situation in Southern Africa recently. Timing-wise, animals should be undertaking their southward migration to rich feeding grounds after several months in the tropical breeding area.
“We had a similar spate of stranded ‘skinny’ whales in 2017 and it is likely that this situation is being driven by food availability in the Southern Ocean feeding grounds and not any local conditions or events. Ultimately, this can probably be viewed as a positive thing as it suggests the populations have now recovered so far that they are near the environment’s ‘carrying capacity’.”
The decision to euthanize the animal was not an easy one.
“Leaving it to die naturally is slow and excruciating. Their skin is very sensitive to the sun, which means blistering. Given its position, the ocean would still have cooled it off, meaning that it could have taken even longer to die. Also, its own body weight will crush its organs.
“Leaving the animal here on the beach, with volunteers to guard it while nature takes it course, was also not possible.”

Earlier
On Thursday morning a video spread like wildfire on social media of people jumping on and off the whale, and poking at it while taking selfies and videos. The police and the Special Reserve Forces were called in to guard the animal until its death.
Prior to its stranding on Wednesday, the Namibian Dolphin Project saw the whale swimming in circles which alerted them that something might be wrong.
“We arrived at the scene around 11:30 and tried pushing it back. Later on more people arrived to assist us in pushing it back, but each time the animal re-floated, it would swim right back to the beach. Upon inspection, the Walvis Bay Diving Team saw that the animal couldn’t move its left pectoral fin. We didn’t see any visible marks, which meant an internal or muscular injury. If a boat had struck it, the injury would be visible.”
Fourie said they tried re-floating the animal six times and also tried scaring him off. “Each time it would swim in a circle and turn back. It couldn’t swim in a straight line.”
She said that it is very difficult to rehabilitate an animal of a whale’s size. “Namibia simply does not have the facilities and even if we did, whales are long-distance travelling animals, which means if they are rehabilitated in a small space, it places then under tremendous stress.”
Fourie added that people on the beach, as was the case with this whale, have a huge impact on the animal. “Whales are very sensitive to vibrations, so high levels of noise can agitate it and anything that comes close to its head, will aggravate it.”

Similar News

 

Take pride in the environment

7 hours ago | Local News

Walvis Bay • Leandrea Louw The national clean-up campaign is slated for 21 September this year and Walvis Bay mayor, Alderman Immanuel Wilfred, is...

Bewustheid oor brandbekamping verskerp

1 day - 18 September 2019 | Local News

Swakopmund • Iréne-Mari van der Walt Die munisipaliteit van Swakopmund het onlangs ’n praatjie oor brandveiligheid by die DRC sportveld gehou.Die geleentheid...

Prokureurs span saam teen geslagsgeweld

2 days ago - 17 September 2019 | Local News

Swakopmund • Otis Finck 'n Regspraktisynsfirma op Swakopmund, Ellis Shilengudwa Incorporated (ESI), in samewerking met die Lindi Prinsloo Trust, die Janet Martin-liefdadigheidsorganisasie en die vroueregte­aktivis...

Gemeenskap staan saam teen geweld

1 week ago - 10 September 2019 | Local News

Walvisbaai • Leandrea Louw In Julie en Augustus is 26 kinders verkrag. Op Kuisebmond is 'n vrou se keel afgesny. 'n Ma van vier is...

Dorp van die jaar se makietieplanne

1 week ago - 10 September 2019 | Local News

Swakopmund • Otis Finck Ná drie vorige probeerslae het Swakopmund op 16 Junie vanjaar met Kwêla se Dorp van die Jaar-titel weggestap. Die wenprys...

Indian naval ship heading for Walvis Bay

1 week ago - 09 September 2019 | Local News

During its visit to Walvis Bay, the Commanding Officer of the INS Tarkash is expected to pay courtesy calls on the local leaders and senior...

Drowning prevented

3 weeks ago - 29 August 2019 | Local News

The bravery of a young man saved two youngsters from drowning at Langstrand, near Walvis Bay. Cameron Stevens (21), assisted two teens from nearly drowning...

Homes of fire victims to be renovated

3 weeks ago - 25 August 2019 | Local News

Swakopmund • Adolf Kaure Three Swakopmund residents will receive assistance from the Swakopmund municipality to renovate their houses in Moshitila Street in Mondesa which were...

Space travellers visit Erongo

3 weeks ago - 25 August 2019 | Local News

Swakopmund • Erwin Leuschner Liu Yang, the first female Chinese astronaut in space, and her colleague Chen Dong arrived in Namibia recently.Their mission...

Voters denied right to register

1 month - 18 August 2019 | Local News

Swakopmund • Adolf KaureThe Electoral Commission of Namibia's (ECN) Erongo regional coordinator, Kashidinge Nghipuilepo, says they were denied access to farms to register workers. They...

Latest News

O&L Leisure and TAWUN signs...

7 hours ago | Business

Under the agreement wage agreement reached with the Tourism and Allied Workers Union of Namibia last week, O&L Leisure (a subsidiary of the Ohlthaver...

Take pride in the environment...

7 hours ago | Local News

Walvis Bay • Leandrea Louw The national clean-up campaign is slated for 21 September this year and Walvis Bay mayor, Alderman Immanuel Wilfred, is...

Swakopmund Youth League kicks off

1 day - 18 September 2019 | Sports

Swakopmund • Iréne-Mari van der Walt The Swakopmund Youth League concludes at the end of this month after another two rounds of six matches...

Village councils under scrutiny

1 day - 18 September 2019 | Government

Swakopmund • Adolf Kaure A four-day stakeholder briefing for village councils hosted by the Office of the Auditor-General began in Swakopmund on Monday, with...

Bewustheid oor brandbekamping verskerp

1 day - 18 September 2019 | Local News

Swakopmund • Iréne-Mari van der Walt Die munisipaliteit van Swakopmund het onlangs ’n praatjie oor brandveiligheid by die DRC sportveld gehou.Die geleentheid...

Klein mejuffrou Walvisbaai

2 days ago - 17 September 2019 | Events

Tien deelnemers ding mee in die eerste Little Miss Walvis Bay-skoonheidskompetisie. Hierdie kompetisie is die geesteskind van Estrolita Petersen, Mev. Namibia Globe en Mev. Universal....

Prokureurs span saam teen geslagsgeweld

2 days ago - 17 September 2019 | Local News

Swakopmund • Otis Finck 'n Regspraktisynsfirma op Swakopmund, Ellis Shilengudwa Incorporated (ESI), in samewerking met die Lindi Prinsloo Trust, die Janet Martin-liefdadigheidsorganisasie en die vroueregte­aktivis...

Focus on regional logistics hub...

2 days ago - 17 September 2019 | Events

Another exciting edition of the Annual Logistics and Transport Workshop and Training Day (ALTWTD) is scheduled for 25 to 27 September at the Nust Hotel...

First visitor for cruise liner...

2 days ago - 17 September 2019 | Infrastructure

After a prolonged absence, the Port of Walvis Bay's 2019-2020 cruise season will recommence on 18 October with the arrival of Phoenix Reisen's Albatros. ...

Load More