Rare blue whale beaches
28 April 2021 | Environment
Bridget James, NDP, “This is the largest animal we've ever dealt with…”
A blue whale, which is a very rare species, was found floating in the ocean near Walvis Bay on Monday morning.
Bridget James, a PhD candidate with the Namibia Dolphin Project (NDP) explained that the unusual sighting was reported by Jonathan Morgan (who previously assisted the NDP).
Morgan saw the whale floating from a boat belonging to Laramon Tours.
“When it stranded, we were able to asses it in more detail. NDP, with the assistance of Ocean Conservation Namibia, managed to establish that it is a female with a length of just over 18 meters and had several injuries consistent with a ship strike.”
James said that this seems to be most likely the cause of death and explains the injuries seen.
“Conducting a full necropsy is out of our logistical and financial capabilities. Famed for being the largest animals on earth, at 30 meters in length, most blue whales are smaller than this. We have taken samples for genetic analysis.”
According to Jones, passive acoustic monitoring of the low-frequency calls produced by Blue whales indicates an increase of such animals in Namibian waters in recent years.
“This is great news, but shipping continues to pose a threat through ship strikes and low-frequency sounds which can mask their communication. This is the largest animal we've ever dealt with and the first time it's been recorded to beach in Africa.”
She explained that the community can assist by supporting Sea Search/ Namibian Dolphin Project in their efforts to conserve marine life for years to come at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/SeaSearch.
A full video of the whale’s beaching can be viewed at https://bit.ly/32VvwGm.