A Stranded Whale near Hong Kong, Supertyphoon Rammasun And Photoshopped Soldiers

A three-meter whale weighing four tons was stranded on a beach in the city of Yangjiang (about 230 km west of Hong Kong), in Guangdong province, on July 19, 2014. Local police officers and soldiers helped the whale back into the waters after it was washed ashore by waves during super typhoon Rammasun which hit Southern China. It was the strongest typhoon to hit the region in four decades, and brought gales and downpours.

The 3-m stranded whale at Yangjiang, Guandong Province. [Photo/IC]
Some media outlets (West Palm Beach TV , NBC Netwwork) initially reported it as a “killer whale” (Orcinus orca), but it is actually  a juvenile baleen whale – either a Fin, Bryde’s or Sei Whale (the pictures unfortunately don’t show enough details). China Daily also praises the police and soldiers for rescuing the animal, but the pictures show quite clearly that most of the manpower actually came from life guards.

Click here for the CCTV News video report

As the smallest baleen whales can be ruled out, the size of the individual means its a juvenile, perhaps even recently born. Although the efforts to save the whale are admirable, I suspect that separated from its mother and her milk this calf will highly likely die soon.

image: CCTV News
image: CCTV News
image: CCTV News
image: CCTV News
image: CCTV News
image: CCTV News
image: CCTV News
image: CCTV News

CCTV also included an image, not seen elsewhere on the web, showing soldiers rescuing the whale, although the image looks quite photoshopped and the weather seems much brighter in that one image….quite why anyone has to manipulate the image here I can’t understand, there is no political connotation here that I can recognize…

The most pointless photoshopping image ever. Suddenly the weather is brighter and the sldiers somehow stand out from the image more clearly. But whats the point?
The most pointless photoshopping image ever. Suddenly the weather is brighter and the soldiers somehow stand out from the image more clearly. But whats the point?

(Source: China Daily, 20/7/2014, and CNTV 20/7/2014)

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Whale Carcass Stranded near Taipo

 

The bloated carcass of a whale the length of a bus has been found at a remote beach in the New Territories’ northeastern tip.

The 10.8-metre-long animal, found beached in an inner bay off Hung Shek Mun, in Plover Cove Country Park, was thought to be a female Bryde’s whale.

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When marine experts arrived yesterday morning, the rotting carcass was lying partially submerged in the shallow water, giving off a stench. It had a number of cuts on its body.

About 10 government and Ocean Park experts in protective gear were still inspecting the dead whale early yesterday evening. Police said a hiker had reported seeing a “huge fish” floating off Hung Shek Mun on Saturday evening.

“It looks like a Bryde’s whale,” Dolphin Conservation Society chairman Samuel Hung Ka-yiu said after seeing footage and pictures of the animal on the news. “It could have died at sea and then drifted in.”

Hung said it could have been dead for a couple of days since the carcass was bloated.

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The authorities have yet to decide how to dispose of the dead whale. One option would be to cut up its carcass and remove it piece by piece.

Bryde’s whales, which can grow up to about 15 metres and weigh up to 40 tonnes, prefer warmer waters. Males are usually slightly smaller than females.

In 2009, a 10-metre-long humpback whale was spotted in Hong Kong waters. It was believed to be the first sighting of the species in the city. Experts believed the animal accidentally entered Hong Kong harbour after getting lost.

In 2003, a sperm whale was found washed up at Tai Long Wan in Sai Kung. The 10-metre-long creature was about two years old and weighed 15 tonnes.

In 1994, the carcass of a Bryde’s whale was found in Tolo Harbour.

On the 12th of April 1955, a 9m long juvenile male finback whale (Balaenoptera physalus) was found dying in Victoria Harbour. It was subsequently humanely killed and towed to Aberdeen where it was cut into pieces. The meat was given to refugees while the skeleton was stripped of flesh and dried. Later it was put together and mounted at HKU. Because of damage to the skeleton, the mounting was refurbished in the 1990’s and the skeleton is now on display in front of the main building of the Swire Institute of Marine Science at Cape D’Aguilar.

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The juvenile finback whale found in Victoria Harbor in 1955 now mounted outsie the SWIMS bulding in Cape D’Aguilar.

Hong Kong Dolphin Conservation Society has compiled an exhaustive and informative list of cetacean strandings available online.

SCMP article
Standard article