A whale has turned up dead just outside Belize City, Jamal Galves and the Clearwater Marine Aquarium team are heading to the area to properly examine the corpse to confirm its species and the cause of death.
If you or anyone you know has any information, please reach out to Jamal Galves at [email protected]
Re: Whale turns up dead just outside Belize City
#542338 05/14/2005:08 AM05/14/2005:08 AM
Today a team from Clearwater Marine Aquarium Research Institute and WCS Belize responded to reports of a dead whale off the coast of Belize City, near the Drowned Cayes. The whale approximately 18m/59ft male was identified as a baleen whale. The exact species of whale is currently being determined.
When you think of large animals, you might have visions of elephants or hippos. But even those large animals can't compete with the animal group of baleen whales. These are the largest animals on the planet, and there are twelve different species of baleen whales. Some of the whales included in this group are blue, gray, and humpback whales. Baleen whales can be found in every ocean on the planet.
Though these whales are known to enjoy coastal waters, coming into the shallow waters of Belize City is uncommon and an indication of physical or medical complications to properly function. However, due to the location, the Whale was strand, itís decomposed state, and lacking the capacity to carry out a complete internal assessment was unable to determine its exact cause of death. Sadly another one of these amazing animals is lost.
Please report a sighting of dead or injured marine mammals to the Fisheries Department - Belize or call Clearwater Marine Aquarium Research Institutes 615-3838.
A Tragic Whale's Tale
This morning, video of a whale carcass off a mangrove island started making the social media rounds. And while for many it was a sad but interesting curiosity, Manatee man Jamal Galvez saw it as a tragedy.
Within hours Galvez along with the Wildlife Conservation Society's Nicole Gomez was leading a team to perform an assessment.
And this afternoon as the team returned to shore, Gomez told us what they were able to learn even though they were unable to do a necropsy.
Nicole Gomez- Country Dir., Wildlife Conservation Society "We proceeded to do a search this morning or early this afternoon for the animal and we found it to do an external examination?"
Reporter "So, will a necropsy be done?"
Nicole Gomez "No, this animal is too large. We are not equipped well enough to open it up. So, what we did is do a complete assessment outside to provide enough information to determine the species. So, it is a very large whale. The length was approximately 18 meters long and it was a male. But because we are unable to roll it to see all the features it is a little bit hard to identify so we take a lot of pictures we have a couple of species we think it is but it is a baleen whale, which means it's a whale that filter feeds, it doesn't eat fish or it is nothing hunting, competing against fishers who fish in the sea. What is interesting is that it was found in quite shallow waters. It was found on the Drowned Cayes inside the actual mangroves which is really peculiar. This type of whale would be in the deep waters looking for quail or other plankton filter feeds. So, we don't know why it is here. We didn't get to open it to see what contents may be inside so we don't know the cause of death. But it is very interesting and I want to remind the public that when you see these interesting cases share it with the Belize Marine Mammal Stranding Network. When animals start to come in to shallow waters there is something usually already wrong with it. Belize's waters has whales. We know we have whales in the deep sea between Lighthouse, Turneffe, outside the barrier lagoon. It could have been coming in already with some problem. We are asking that people please don't mess with the carcass. We are hoping to later recover the carcass, what is left, the bones and perhaps it can be something that we can put back together with a taxonomist to have a nice display. This is an interesting find for Belize indeed."
The whale carcass is moderately decomposed leading researchers to believe that it hasn't been there too long, likely less than a week. Again limitations in local marine research prevent any clarity over whether the animal starved to death.
Jamal Galves, the Program Coordinator at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium Research Institute, gave us an educational talk about the work they do in animal conservation. The highlight of today's talk was learning about the whale that was recently found in our waters. He shared the significance of this incident and how they plan to learn from it for further research and education.