A sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) received serious injuries to its tail while caught in a fishing net, which have left it only able to swim in circles, according to news portal chinanews.com (14/3/17).
The whale may have also damaged its sonar system, meaning it cannot find its way back to deeper waters.
The 12-meter-long mammal was found struggling in waters near Shenzhen on Sunday, suffering from several gashes with a tail fin that had been damaged by a fishing net.
Local divers and fishery officials worked together to release it from the net and guide it back to open waters.
However, the animal was too tired to make it away from the shore, and ended up in Huizhou Port on Monday, mere meters from the land. Huizhou is about 50 kilometers away from Shenzhen.
Local officials and 30 experts from the Hong Kong Ocean Park and the Institute of Deep-Sea Science and Engineering under the Chinese Academy of Sciences are monitoring the animal.
One expert suggested luring or driving the whale back to the sea by using whale sounds or those of predators.
However, the expert warned that the whale may have to be poisoned or blown up if rescue efforts fail.
Wu Gang, deputy director of the Huizhou Marine and Fisheries Bureau, said they will first try to treat the whale’s injuries and that euthanasia will only be considered as a last resort.