Plans to dispose of stranded whale on land in Amanzimtoti

Published Aug 21, 2018

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Durban - A rope has been attached from the stranded whale to a Tractor Loader Backhoe (TLB) to prevent the whale from floating out to sea on Pipeline beach in Amanzimtoti. 

Andre Beetge, eThekwini ward councillor in Amanzimtoti, said a southern right whale was stranded on the beach in shallow waters on Monday night. 

The whale died soon after thrashing about in shallow water on Tuesday morning.  The sub-adult humpback whale is between 4 and 6 meters in length said  Jennifer Olbers Marine Ecologist at Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife.   Olbers said she cannot speculate on why the whale stranded on the beach until proper tests were done. 

Beetge said the whale was estimated to be 2 years old and weighed between 6 and 7 tons. 

"The whale has been anchored with the assistance of a TLB on shore. The eThekwini municipality parks department and marine experts gutted the whale so that its intestines and an estimated ton of water could be released from the body. The release of these fluids will make the carcass lighter to bring ashore,"Beetge said. 

Beetge said at high tide which is estimated to be at 1 pm the carcass will be pulled ashore with the help of the tides. 

"The tides will put pressure on the line and guide it to dry land. The carcass will be cut and disposed of at the Vulamehlo landfill site in line with the marine animal carcass disposal guidelines," Beetge said. 

The disposal at the landfill site between Umgababa and Amanzimtoti, said Beetge, will be done to prevent scavengers from hacking at the whale carcass on the beach and for drawing sharks close to the shoreline. 

"I have also requested that additional parks department, beach staff and relevant roleplayers be deployed, even if they work overtime, so that the carcass can be disposed of timeously. 

The South African Association for Marine Biological Research (SAAMBR) website said dolphins and whales may strand along the beaches of KwaZulu Natal for many reasons that may be natural or as a result of human activities.  

Some of these reasons include disease, old age or parasitic infection, abandoned calves, or malnourished juveniles; severe oceanographic and weather conditions.; or they may have been bitten by predators such as sharks or orcas.

Human activities include pollution or an injury from fishing gear or boats.

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