Pygmy Sperm Whale Stranding near Sha Tau Kok

A 3.3 m long, 386 kg whale was found by hikers on Friday (26th September 2014) on the rocky shoreline at Fung Hang village near Sha Tau Kok (NE New Territories). Due to the remote location of the site, AFCD staff decided to suspend the investigation, as night fell. Officers tied the dead whale with a rope to fix it on the beach and prevent it from drifting away during the rising tide. Experts joined the investigation the following day to identify the dead whale species and the cause of death.

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Images by Ocean Park Conservation Fund. 9/2014.

The whale did not have any obvious fatal wounds or signs of infection, but had begun to rot and some of the gray-black skin was peeing off.
A preliminary veterinary inspection suggests that it is a pygmy sperm whale (Kogia breviceps).

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The Pygmy Sperm Whale

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Drawing showing relative size of a Pygmy Sperm Whale and a human

This species is normally found in deep waters several hundred to a thousand meters deep such as off Taiwan’s east coast. Hong Kong waters are only tens of meters deep, so pygmy sperm whales generally do not live or pass through Hong Kong. Most likely the whale got lost or was already dying while passing by Hong Kong waters and then drifted in to shore.

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Image: News163.com

Skin , teeth, subcutaneous fat , heart, reproductive system and muscle samples were taken for further testing and City University of Hong Kong will receive the whale carcasses to produce bone specimens.

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Map by Mingpao Daily.

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Published by

hkmarinelife

I am a ex-marine biologist now working for a regular job, but I am still passionate about marine biology and oceanography. I studied Marine Science and completed a PhD in deep-sea ecology and biodiversity. I fell in love with HK's rich marine environment when I was a child. This blog is my collection of interesting facts, news and articles that celebrate and educate on HK's diverse marine environment.

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