The Bryde’s whale washed up last Friday was buried today at Kleinkranz, Wilderness, said SANParks spokesperson Nandi Mgwadlamba.
Mgwadlamba said speculation about the adult male whale’s cause of death was old age as there were no visible injuries anywhere on its body.
Marine Ranger for Wilderness Jonathan Britton, explaining the complexity of disposing of a dead whale which had beached so close to a residential area, said “we also could not throw it back to sea due to it causing other hazards”.
“Burying it will allow the smell and the fat to seep through to the sea when it decomposes.”
Marine ranger for Wilderness Carel van der Merwe and Britton were at the scene to oversee the process.
“If the whale had beached elsewhere far from a residential area, we would have left it to decompose as the carcass of a whale can provide important nutrients to other animals feeding from it, such as micro-invertebrates and birds,” Britton said.
Bryde’s whales are known to prefer tropical and subtropical warm, temperate waters globally.
Park Manager for the Garden Route National Park, Paddy Gordon, says the reason sea mammals beach themselves remains a mystery.
“It could be related to old age, human interference or diseases, but when there is a beached animal in the park, SANParks will call in its own specialists and also cooperate with external experts.
“In this case, an expert from Plettenberg Bay was consulted over the weekend. The decision not to throw the carcass back into the sea is to ensure it does not attract sharks, which pose danger to bathers,” Gordon said.
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