Posted by: The ocean update | October 16, 2015

Pygmy sperm whale stranded near Forster to be examined by Taronga Zoo staff (Australia)

The pygmy sperm whale. Bite marks from cookiecutter sharks, which usually indicate poor condition, can be seen towards the tail.

The pygmy sperm whale. Bite marks from cookiecutter sharks, which usually indicate poor condition, can be seen towards the tail.

October 16th, 2015 (Lachlan Leeming). A pygmy sperm whale that beached itself on Seven Mile Beach at Booti Booti National Park has been transported to Sydney where Taronga Zoo staff will perform a necropsy to determine the circumstances of death surrounding the creature, as well as gathering other information about the secretive species.

The 2.5m pygymy sperm whale was first observed approaching the shore on Wednesday night, October 14.

Despite efforts to guide the animal back into deep water, it was found deceased the next day on the beach near the Ruins campground.

Ranger at Booti Booti National Park, Brett Cann, said it appeared the whale was “in poor condition,” with the presence of cookiecutter shark bites a tell-tale sign of the animal being unwell, as the sharks usually only prey on slow or sick animals.

Due to the relatively small size of the animal and the speed with which it was located the decision was made for it to be taken to Sydney.

Pygmy sperm whales are rarely sighted at sea with most information about the species coming from the examination of stranded specimens.

Brett said that there is usually about six whales a year beached in the area, with a variety of species involved.

Brett said that stranded whales were always treated with respect by National Parks staff.

Depending on the size and location of the animals, they are usually buried in a National Parks cemetery or taken to a remote area to decompose.

Bite marks from cookiecutter sharks can be clearly seen.

Bite marks from cookiecutter sharks can be clearly seen. Ed Sibylline : difficult to believe that this is the same animal alive the previous day…

 

Injuries to the whale's nose are likely to have been acquired during beaching.

Injuries to the whale’s nose are likely to have been acquired during beaching.

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