On the 6th of March, a Blainville’s Beaked Whale beached itself on the rocks at the Beacon Island Hotel. The presence of this animal drew quite the crowd and the NSRI were also called to the scene to assist. Unfortunately with cetaceans (whales and dolphins), they are protected species, so with all good intentions, not much can be done with them without the permissions from the relevant authorities. Shortly after the animals beached itself, it passed away.
These situations are extremely unfortunate, but in a way, it also gives an opportunity to those studying the animals to gain more information on them. For this reason, ORCA Foundation assisted the Centre for Dolphin Studies (CDS) and Bayworld with the necropsy to try to determine the cause of death.
The animal was a young adult male, weighing in at around 830 kg and just shy of 5 meters. During the dissection, no obvious causes of death could be determined, but we still await biopsy reports from Bayworld.
Not much is known about these whales as they are tropical and warm temperate deep see residents and rarely come into coastal waters. Their diet mostly consists of squid and octopus. Their maximum length is 4.9 metres and maximum weight is almost a tonne.
According to Dr Cockcroft of CDS, only about 5 of this particular species have ever beached in our area and he has been studying whales and dolphins in the area for over 30 years. The last one beached approximately 14 years ago.