Malaysia: Dead whale same as the one rescued in Pontian

MOHD FARHAAN SHAH The Star 10 Feb 16;

BATU PAHAT: The dead whale that was found beached at the Sungai Sarang Buaya river mouth is the same one found and rescued in Pontian two days ago.

Johor Fisheries Department director Munir Mohd Nawi said the mammal is from the highly endangered Balaenoptera borealis species.

Widely known as sei whale, it is the third largest of its kind in the whale family.

He said a forensics team from the Turtles and Marine Ecosystem Centre was examining the carcass.

"This is the same whale that was found and rescued in Pontian waters a couple of days ago.

"The carcass is being towed to the department's jetty here for a post-mortem and to find out the cause of death," he said.

It was recently reported that a whale was rescued by a group of people in Pantai Rambah on Monday.

However the mammal was found beached again in shallow waters along Sungai Sarang Buaya on Tuesday.

Expert: Whale could have died due to stress
MOHD FARHAAN SHAH The Star 11 Feb 16;

BATU PAHAT: The whale that was earlier rescued off Pontian could have died due to emotional distress after it got separated from its pod, says a fishery expert.

“This whale might have been separated from its group while looking for food along the Malacca Straits. This may explain why it ended up off Pontian.

“It was having trouble returning to its pod due to the low tide at that time. This led to it suffering emotional distress which can cause organ damage,” Fisheries Research Institute (FRI) officer Mohd Tamimi Ali Ahmad said when met after the whale’s carcass was towed back to the Batu Pahat Fisheries Department jetty here yesterday.

A post-mortem to identify the cause of death will be carried out on the 12m-long, 15-tonne adult male mammal.

“The carcass that was found along the river mouth of Sungai Sarang Buaya here is of the same animal found in Pontian earlier.

“We need about a week to obtain the results of the post-mortem.

“Once it is complete, its meat and organs will be destroyed while the skeleton would be placed at the FRI headquarters at Dungun in Terengganu,” he said.

The highly-endangered Sei or Baleen Whale is the third-largest whale after the Blue Whale and the Fin Whale.

“The Sei Whale is a common animal that can be found in Malaysian waters as the area is within their migratory route,” he said.

Over the last 10 years, Mohd Tamimi said, there have been similar cases of beached species, including at Carey Island in Selangor and Pahang.

“It is not only whales that have been found beached, but also dugongs and dolphins.

“I hope people will keep the sea clean for the sake of such animals,” he said.

Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency Batu Pahat enforcement chief Lieutenant Commander Maritime Muhammad Zulkarnain Abdullah said the animal had swam more than 90 nautical miles from Pantai Rambah in Pontian to its final destination at Sungai Sarang Buaya here.

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