WATCH: Beached Bryde's whale carcass buried at Kleinkranz by SANParks
Cape Town - The Bryde’s whale that was washed up on Friday has been buried at Kleinkranz, Wilderness.
According to SANParks, speculation about the adult male whale’s cause of death is old age and there were no visible injuries anywhere on its body.
A Wilderness marine ranger, Jonathan Britton, explains that disposing of a dead whale that had beached so close to a residential area is quite complex. “We also could not throw it back to the sea due to it causing other hazards."
“Burying it allowed the smell and the fat to seep through to the sea when it decomposed,” says Britton.
Despite the complexity of each option, SANParks says it decided to roll the whale out behind the watermark and bury it in the dune where it will cause the least amount of disturbance.
Britton and another marine ranger Carel van der Merwe were at the scene to oversee the process.
“If the whale had beached elsewhere far from a residential area, we would have left it to decompose as the carcass of a whale can provide important nutrients to other animals feeding from it, such as micro-invertebrates and birds,” says Britton.
Bryde’s whales are known to prefer tropical and subtropical warm, temperate waters globally.
Garden Route National Park's manager, Paddy Gordon, says the reason sea mammals beach themselves remains a mystery.
“It could be related to old age, human interference or diseases, but when there is a beached animal in the park, SANParks will call in its own specialists and also cooperate with external experts," says Gordon, adding that an expert from Plettenberg Bay was consulted over the weekend.
"The decision not to throw the carcass back into the sea is to ensure it does not attract sharks, which pose danger to bathers,” says Gordon.
Watch video below:
Footage: Supplied by SANparks
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