Whale of an issue
04 December 2014
A rare juvenile pygmy right whale beached itself in the intertidal zone at Island Beach.
Locals made a number of attempts to guide the whale out to sea, but the whale continued to return to shore. Natural Resources KI was contacted to assist with the 3.5 metre whale and ranger staff liaised with the Kangaroo Island Veterinary Clinic and the South Australian Museum about the best action to take.
The Island vets attended and assessed the whale’s condition, while rangers and locals helped to keep it cool. The whale unfortunately did not survive.
Although the whale’s death is unfortunate, museum staff are very interested in undertaking a post-mortem on the body. There have been limited studies undertaken on this species, as it is not commonly seen. Its contribution to science will be highly valuable, as there is still a lot to be learnt about the pygmy right whale.
It is of such interest that Mr Bob Brownell, a world expert on cetaceans (who is currently in Australia for the 3rd International Conference on Marine Mammal Protected Areas conference), travelled to Kangaroo Island with Dr Catherine Kemper to assist with the whale’s transportation to the South Australian Museum.
Natural Resources Kangaroo Island thanks the Island Beach community for its efforts to keep the whale alive, veterinary staff for their assessment and Carey’s Earthmovers for their assistance in storing and transporting the whale.