Humpback Stranded in Hong Kong Waters


Photo: El Cap'n via Flickr

A humpback whale, approximately ten meters in length, has been stranded in Hong Kong waters since March 18. Humpbacks are not native to the area. In fact, this is the first recorded instance of a humpback whale near Hong Kong. Scientists believe that the aquatic mammal is an inexperienced and confused juvenile who became lost during migration. Why the Whales Go Astray
Kevin Robinson director of Scotland's Cetacean Research & Rescue Unit.

With local rises in sea temperatures and increasing human disturbances and pressures, researchers seem to be recording substantial changes in the biodiversity of whale, dolphin and porpoise communities in recent years," he said. It could also be looking for new feeding areas as traditional feeding and breeding grounds are declining.

How to Save the Humpback Whale

From The Standard

We recommend the
government refrain from doing anything outside of monitoring the animal," Hung added. "There's no real way to lure it out into the ocean other than trying to scare it, but that would raise its stress levels, making it aggressive and increasing the risk it could head to shore and become beached."

Humpback in Hong Kong: Growing Concerns
The whale appeared to be in good health upon its arrival in the East Lamma Channel near Victoria Harbor, but many worry that the humpback will have trouble finding food in the area's polluted waters.

The Spectacle Creates Spectacular Problems
Boatloads of sightseers armed with cameras have flocked out to photograph the massive marine mammal. Scientists warn that bustling boat traffic can cause the cetacean further disorientation. On a dour note, the whale has begun surfacing less often. This can be a sign of ill-health.

Still, many remain hopeful that the whale will swim back out into open waters.

Recent Whale-Saving Efforts May Halt Harbor Traffic
The Hong Kong Marine Department is considering suspending harbor traffic until the whale crisis has been resolved. Also, the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department has recently declared that anyone who disturbs the humpback will be fined $13,000.

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Tags: Animals | China | Whales