Beached whale at Melkbos

Picture: henk kruger

The young Southern Right whale that drew scores of onlookers after beaching at Melkbosstrand on Friday March 4 is believed to have been hit by a ship.

Mike Meyers, from the Department of Environmental Affairs, said the cause of death was immediately evident due to the visible cuts on the whale’s body.

“The whale was cut in four places, indicating that it had been hit by ship propellers,” he said.

“Southern Right whales are feeding off port in Cape Town, and they’re slow animals, often not seen by those on deck.”

Various line departments in the City came together to remove the whale and used a bulldozer to move the 10m-long carcass from the beach on Friday March 4.

Melkbosstrand NSRI station commander Rhine Barnes said it was important to move the whale quickly to avoid drawing sharks.

“Although sharks are not prolific in the area, we’re keeping an eye out,” said Mr Barnes.

Johan van der Merwe, mayoral committee member for energy, environmental and spatial planning, said the City’s stranded whale protocol was implemented to remove the carcass.

The whale was buried at the Vissershok landfill site.