Rangers chain rare whale

POST Newspapers - - Letters To The Post -

Ned­lands rangers used an ex­ca­va­tor to drag the car­cass of a beaked whale off Swan­bourne beach on its way to the WA Mu­seum on Wed­nes­day.

The whale washed up on the beach early on Wed­nes­day morn­ing, af­ter beach­ing it­self in South Fre­man­tle the night be­fore.

“Gen­er­ally they only go near shore if they’re com­pro­mised, so we weren’t that sur­prised to see it again,” metropoli­tan ma­rine park co­or­di­na­tor Melissa Evans said.

“We’ve taken a sam­ple of the blub­ber to con­firm what type of beaked whale it is.”

De f e n c e wo r k e r s from Camp­bell Bar­racks used an army truck to move the whale away from their fir­ing range.

Ned­lands coun­cil work­ers later chained it to an ex­ca­va­tor and dragged it off the beach to a wait­ing truck.

Mur­doch Uni­ver­sity re­searcher Nahiid Stephens was on the scene, and took a blub­ber sam­ple to test for con­tam­i­nants.

She said the whale was a male that she be­lieved to be an adult.

“They’re a very rare … deep wa­ter species about which very lit­tle is known,” Dr Stephens said. “It was in good con­di­tion. “The mu­seum is re­tain­ing its skele­ton.

“We may have the op­por­tu­nity to look at its gas­troin­testi­nal con­tents.”

Dr Stephens said beaked whales fed by suck­ing in wa­ter, and it was pos­si­ble the whale had in­gested plas­tic.

“It’s some­thing we have to look for,” she said.

Cam­bridge CEO John Giorgi said his coun­cil’s rangers kept a close eye on neigh­bour­ing south City Beach in case the whale calf at­tracted any sharks, but the beach re­mained open.

Photo: Bil­lie Fair­clough

Mur­doch Uni­ver­sity re­searcher Nahiid Stephens took a blub­ber sam­ple from the rare beaked whale.

An ex­ca­va­tor was used to movethe whale from the beach.

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