Saturday, August 20

Beached whale identified as Bryde’s whale – SFC

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MIRI: Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) has identified the marine mammal that beached itself on Siwak Beach, Bakam near here on May 4 as a Bryde’s whale (Balaenoptera edeni).

SFC, as the lead agency of the Sarawak Marine Mammal Stranding Network (SMMSN) said the corporation’s marine biologists needed a collection of photographs from several sources to eventually detect a key feature of the Bryde’s whale, which are the three ridges on its head before its species could be identified.

“Based on the appearance of the ridges which are less prominent, its estimated length of less than 10 metres and the sighting of another larger individual whale swimming in waters near the location, it is believed that the said mammal is a juvenile and the other whale sighted could be its mother,” said a statement issued by SFC today (May 7).

The SMMSN is a group dedicated to saving marine mammals (dugongs, dolphins, whales, and porpoises) found beached or stranded on shores all over the state.

The group consists of standing members from SFC, Forest Department Sarawak, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas), Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA), Fire and Rescue Department Malaysia (Bomba), Department of Marine Fisheries Sarawak, Veterinary Agriculture Department, Royal Malaysia Police, Sarawak Museum Department and Malaysia Civil Defence Force.

SFC expressed their gratitude to Bomba for their quick response in dispatching their men and also to the public for their assistance which greatly contributed to the swift rescue operation.

The corporation also revealed that the last recorded sighting of a stranded Baleen whale (the group which the Bryde’s whale belongs to) in Sarawak was at Kuala Tatau in February, 2014, which was also successfully released back to sea thanks to public participation.

Members of the community are advised to lodge reports of stranded marine mammals to the nearest SFC offices as follows: Kuching – 082-610088, Sibu – 084-33744, Bintulu – 086-313726 and Miri – 085-436637.