Whale Carcass Stranded near Taipo

 

The bloated carcass of a whale the length of a bus has been found at a remote beach in the New Territories’ northeastern tip.

The 10.8-metre-long animal, found beached in an inner bay off Hung Shek Mun, in Plover Cove Country Park, was thought to be a female Bryde’s whale.

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When marine experts arrived yesterday morning, the rotting carcass was lying partially submerged in the shallow water, giving off a stench. It had a number of cuts on its body.

About 10 government and Ocean Park experts in protective gear were still inspecting the dead whale early yesterday evening. Police said a hiker had reported seeing a “huge fish” floating off Hung Shek Mun on Saturday evening.

“It looks like a Bryde’s whale,” Dolphin Conservation Society chairman Samuel Hung Ka-yiu said after seeing footage and pictures of the animal on the news. “It could have died at sea and then drifted in.”

Hung said it could have been dead for a couple of days since the carcass was bloated.

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The authorities have yet to decide how to dispose of the dead whale. One option would be to cut up its carcass and remove it piece by piece.

Bryde’s whales, which can grow up to about 15 metres and weigh up to 40 tonnes, prefer warmer waters. Males are usually slightly smaller than females.

In 2009, a 10-metre-long humpback whale was spotted in Hong Kong waters. It was believed to be the first sighting of the species in the city. Experts believed the animal accidentally entered Hong Kong harbour after getting lost.

In 2003, a sperm whale was found washed up at Tai Long Wan in Sai Kung. The 10-metre-long creature was about two years old and weighed 15 tonnes.

In 1994, the carcass of a Bryde’s whale was found in Tolo Harbour.

On the 12th of April 1955, a 9m long juvenile male finback whale (Balaenoptera physalus) was found dying in Victoria Harbour. It was subsequently humanely killed and towed to Aberdeen where it was cut into pieces. The meat was given to refugees while the skeleton was stripped of flesh and dried. Later it was put together and mounted at HKU. Because of damage to the skeleton, the mounting was refurbished in the 1990’s and the skeleton is now on display in front of the main building of the Swire Institute of Marine Science at Cape D’Aguilar.

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The juvenile finback whale found in Victoria Harbor in 1955 now mounted outsie the SWIMS bulding in Cape D’Aguilar.

Hong Kong Dolphin Conservation Society has compiled an exhaustive and informative list of cetacean strandings available online.

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5 thoughts on “Whale Carcass Stranded near Taipo”

    1. You see various sizes and weights quoted – max 20t, max. 30t even max. 40t. Same for size: 14.2 m, 15.6m. We are only talking accuracy of +/-5%. Hard to know who is right with weight as no one actually directly weighs a whole whale anyway. Without DNA-based taxonomic identification in most historical data it hardly matters anyway, given new insights into sub-species and species.

    2. Square-cube law. I don’t know what your credentials are but accusing the NOAA of ‘making up’ numbers is not something I am comfortable with on this blog. Using the simple square cube law – which is simplified but adequately estimates for mammals – if a 7.5 m juvenile whale weighs 5 tonnes – a 15 m adult would weigh 8×5 = 40 tonnes. On what basis are you disputing this and what are your credentials?

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