Whale strandings ‘are normal’

2014-08-28 00:00

WILDLIFE authorities do not believe there is any cause for concern over recent incidents of whales stranding themselves on KZN beaches.

There have been three incidents in the past month, with the most recent at Palm Beach on the South Coast where authorities are still trying to deal with a Humpback carcass.

Marine Ecologist, Jennifer Olbers from Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife said an annual migration of Humpback whales was currently taking place.

“They migrate from the colder waters in the Cape to the warmer waters in Mozambique where they calve.”

She said approximately six humpback whales strand annually.

“Scientists believe that since whaling was stopped in 1975, the whale populations in South Africa have increased dramatically and the reason for the high number of strandings is because there are more whales to strand.

“In the last few years, we have seen that more and more calves are being born in the Durban area as opposed to further north and these calves also strand regularly,” Olbers said.

She added that the increase in whale numbers offshore is great news for the species.

Tom Prins, the Palm Beach resident who had alerted authorities to the stranding, yesterday said the carcass was still floating between the rocks and the shore. Hibiscus Coast Municipality spokesperson, Simon Soboyisa said the carcass was yet to be removed, but they were hoping the tide would draw the remains of the whale out to deeper water.

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