Rare whale at Thorn­tons

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - FRONT PAGE -

A RARE dense-beaked whale has been found dead, washed up on Thorn­ton’s Beach af­ter re­ported stranded last Wed­nes­day night.

The whale ap­pears to be fe­male and mea­sured 4.3 me­tres long.

Queens­land Parks and Wildlife Ser­vice re­ceived a re­port of the strand­ing, and Re­gional Di­rec­tor Great Bar­rier Reef Damien Head said the rangers at­tended the fol­low­ing morn­ing.

‘‘There is no clear ev­i­dence of cause of death,’’ Mr Head said.

‘‘The beaked whale is not a com­mon species for this re­gion and the whale’s age can­not be de­ter­mined un­til fur­ther tests are un­der­taken.’’

Queens­land Mu­seum will be col­lect­ing the car­cass for its stud­ies on this species

Queens­land Mu­seum Ver­te­brate Col­lec­tion Man­ager Heather Janeztki said, ‘‘From photographs we’ve been able to iden­tify the whale as a Dense­beaked whale, or Blainsville’s beaked whale as it’s also known,’’ Ms Janet­zki said.

‘‘All beaked whales are quite rare and this un­for­tu­nate in­ci­dent presents an op­por­tu­nity for the Queens­land Mu­seum to add a rare whole skeleton of this species to the State Col­lec­tion to pre­serve as part of Queens­land’s bio­di­ver­sity record.

Ms Janet­zki said they will be able to de­ter­mine the whale is a fe­male by its beak. ‘‘One of the un­usual fea­tures of th­ese beaked whales is their teeth, with the fe­males hav­ing no teeth or only very few teeth which are em­bed­ded in the gums,’’ She said.

‘‘The males also have very few teeth and th­ese of­ten ap­pear as tusk-like erup­tions grow­ing out of the snout.’’

Pic­ture: ANGELIQUE PAT­TER­SON

WASHED UP: dead beaked whale on Thorn­tons Beach

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