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Beached whale might be euthanized

Beached whale might be euthanized

Video: The stranded whale is still alive and would in all probability be euthanized to ethically end its suffereing. – Footage: Niël Terblanché

Niël Terblanché
THE humpback whale that beached itself at Independence Beach in Walvis Bay on Wednesday might have to be euthanized to end its suffering.
Dorothy Fourie, a volunteer of the Namibia Dolphin Project, which studies the behaviour of whales and dolphins along the Namibian coast, said it would be best for the animal to be euthanized because it could take up to a week for it to eventually die.
“It is very sad to see but it is a natural process. Sick or injured whales always swim into shore and beach themselves where they then die. This specific whale has very badly injured pectoral fin on its left side which prevents is from swimming properly. That is why it kept swimming back when we tried to refloat it on Wednesday,” she said.
Efforts to refloat the whale were abandoned late on Wednesday afternoon because it could not swim properly any longer and could not go back to the open ocean.
Fourie said the whale was not injured as result of a ship strike and that euthanasia would be the ethical thing to do. She said it is impossible to rehabilitate an animal of that size with the resources available at the Namibian coast.
In the meantime the Walvis Bay Port Captain, Lukas Kaufuna, said that a launch would be used to tow the animal out to the open ocean.
“At this stage we are still coordinating with the people from the Namibia Dolphin Project and once they give us the go-ahead we will proceed to get the whale away from the beach.”
During October last year, when a dead whale was removed from the pylons underneath the Syncrolift in the port of Walvis Bay, a launch towed the carcass around Pelican Point in southerly direction to get the it as far away from public spaces as possible. This is done to allow the natural process of decomposition of the animal.

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