UPDATE – FALSE KILLER WHALES – 25th March, 2013:
The City of Cape Town Disaster Risk Management have reported that three of the five whales that were released into False Bay late yesterday afternoon were found beached on Long Beach, Simon’s Town, at 11h30 last night.
Veterinary Surgeons, the Department of Environmental Affairs – Oceans and Coasts, the SPCA and the City of Cape Town Disaster Risk Management responded and are confident that these three whales are part of the five that were released into False Bay late yesterday afternoon.
At approximately 02h30 on Monday the 25th March, Veterinary Surgeons, under the guidance of the Department of Environmental Affairs – Oceans and Coasts marine scientists and the SPCA, euthanized them because they were found to be in poor and deteriorating health.
The False Bay coastline is being monitored by City of Cape Town Disaster Risk Management in-case the remaining two whales also beach.
At 07h43 on Sunday 24th of March NSRI volunteers from Sea Rescue stations in Kommetjie, Hout Bay, Simon’s Town, Strandfontein, Bakoven and Table Bay were activated following reports of twenty false killer whales beached at Noordhoek Beach, between Hout Bay and Kommetjie, in Cape Town.
Tom Coetzee, NSRI Kommetjie station commander, said: “Our duty crew launched sea rescue craft from Kommetjie and from Hout Bay and NSRI rescuers responded. The City of Cape Town Disaster Management, The Department of Environmental Affairs – Oceans and Coasts, the SPCA, Law Enforcement, Law Enforcement Marine Unit, Table Mountain National Park Rangers, the SA Police Services, Police Sea Border Line, Cape Town Traffic, 2 Veterinary Surgeons and various marine agency volunteers were activated to respond.
“The WC Government Health EMS, Police Divers and the SA Navy were placed on alert.
“Private companies and private volunteers made their services available to the authorities some of which was utilized in the operation and is highly appreciated.
“The media played an important role by broadcasting an urgent appeal by the authorities to stay away from the area as access routes were immediately identified as an initial hazard if blocked as heavy equipment and heavy vehicles were needed at the scene.
“Media continued to assist throughout the day by continuing to broadcast the message that the beach was closed to the public and by updating the public regularly on the situation.
“On arrival on-scene four whales were found dead. Six whales were found to be in reasonable good health. One whale that was lying in shallow surf appears to have swum away through the surf. Nine whales were in less good health.
“Whales were assisted with wet blankets which were continuously doused with water to keep them cool and alive and attempts were made to reduce stress.
“During the morning one whale that was found to be in poor health died naturally.
“Nine whales were euthanized after Veterinary Surgeons found them to be in extremely poor health and suffering.
“Of the six whales that had initially been in relatively good health one deteriorated rapidly. Five were loaded onto trailers and trucks and transported to the SA Naval Dockyard in Simon’s Town and transported to sea by two SA Navy tug boats and released.
Initially one whale was released and it beached itself again in front of Berthas Restaurant in Simon’s Town. It was later loaded onto one of the SA Navy tug boats using a crane on the tug boat.
“One Navy tug had two whales on board and the other had three. All five were released in calm seas in False Bay. They were followed after being released and appeared to be swimming along strongly.
Fourteen whale carcasses have been removed from the beach.
“Marine Scientists have taken samples of the whales for forensic analysis.
“The SA Navy will continue to monitor the shoreline in False Bay to see if the whales beach again.”
All emergency agencies, private companies and private individuals, and the members of the public and media that were at the scene are commended for their efforts.
In total there were twenty whales.
Five were loaded onto trailers and transported to the SA Naval Dockyard and released at sea by two Navy tugs and at 19h07 they were witnessed by following boats to be swimming strongly in False Bay.One whale had swum back into the sea through the surf during the early morning. Five whales died of natural caused on Noordhoek Beach. Nine whales that were in poor health and suffering were humanely euthanized by Veterinary Surgeons assisted with the guidance of the SPCA and Marine Scientists from the Department of Environmental affairs – Oceans and Coasts.
Pictures for media download are available on Sea Rescue’s Flickr page.