Ricochet News

Beached Humpback Whale calf euthanised near Port Elizabeth

Oct 30, 2017
Beached Humpback Whale calf euthanised near Port Elizabeth

The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) over the weekend reminded the public that the possession of marine mammal remains without a permit is an offence. This is after a Humpback Whale calf beached at Hogan Park, approximately 4km along the beach to the east of the Port of Ngqura, just outside Port Elizabeth.

According to Ian Gray, NSRI Port Elizabeth station commander, they received call at 11h30, on Saturday, about the beached whale.

"We had received a call from member of public reporting a beached Humpback Whale Calf," he said.

Gray said that Dr Greg Hofmeyr of the Marine Animal Stranding Network was contacted.

"Our NSRI rescue vehicle with 5 NSRI rescue crew was dispatched to the scene which was accessible along a 4x4 track.

"The young 5-meter whale was found beached with small waves breaking around it, alive but very weak," he added.

"We evaluated the options of re-floating the whale but it was too heavy to man handle and in a outgoing tide and low lying rocks and a gradually shallowing beach made any effort impossible."

Gray said that Dr Hofmeyr and Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries  (DAFF) as well as Department of Environmental Affairs - Oceans and Coasts officials, evaluated the health of the whale, found to be weak and in an advanced unhealthy state, and after all options were evaluated they decided that sadly the only course of action was humane euthanasia and the whale was humanely euthanised by authorities.

Dr Hofmeyer collected samples of the whale for research.

"Authorities requested NSRI to reiterate to members of the public that should a marine animal be found in any kind of distress they are to contact their local Marine Animal Stranding Network or local marine authorities or call the local NSRI emergency number or national NSRI emergency number 112 and members of the public should not approach or attempt to handle a Marine animal in distress without the consent of local authorities to avoid further injury or distress to the animal and to avoid a danger to themselves," said Gray.