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One last attempt to rescue stranded whale abandoned

One last attempt to rescue stranded whale abandoned

Niël Terblanché
NATURE will unfortunately have to take its course with the whale that stranded itself at Independence Beach in Walvis Bay two days ago after one last attempt to tow it out to the open ocean with help of a boat was abandoned earlier on Wednesday.
The area around the whale had to be cordoned off and guards from the Namibian Police and Marines from the Namibian Navy had to keep a watchful eye on the crowds of people gathered on the beach. The presence of so many people close to the whale was causing it undue stress to the animal.

Video: One last attempt to rescue whale abandoned. – Footage: Niël Terblanché

Volunteers from the Namibia Dolphin Project assisted by volunteers from the community attempted to refloat the animal but it kept swimming back onto the shore and has been stranded in the shallow waters on the shore for the past three days.
After the attempt to tow the whale back to the open ocean was abandoned, Dorothy Fourie, a volunteer with the Namibia Dolphin Project, said that that nature will now have to take its course.
“It can still take up to a week for it to die. The place where it stranded means that it gets over wash from the surf even during low tide so the process of the animal dying, is prolonged. The best and most humane way would be to euthanize it but that would be difficult with all the people always around.”
She said that if the whale got stranded on any other beach far away from civilisation it would die naturally.
“Unfortunately we had incidents where people got on top of the animal to pose for pictures and others poking their fingers in its eyes. We had to call the authorities for help to keep the people a good distance away.”
In this regard members of the police and NDF along with civilians kept watch over the animal throughout Wednesday night in anticipation that the whale would be towed back to the open ocean early on Thursday morning.
“The problem is the action of the waves around the animal has created a sandbank around it which makes it impossible to fit straps or ropes around its body. The best we could have hoped for was to fit straps around its pectoral fins and hoped it would be to tow it away,” Fourie said.
Since the whale beached on Tuesday it has come to light that it had been spotted in the sea by tourist charter boats operating in the bay off of Walvis Bay on Monday already. It was seen swimming in circles which caused it to eventually stranding.

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