Sunday, March 20, 2016

ANIMAL BEHAVIOR: Migratory Patterns And Disaster Precursors - Rorqual Whale Found Dead On Mexico Beach; Dead Humpback Whale Washes Up On Block Island, Rhode Island; And Killer Whale Strands And Drowns Leaving Calf As An Orphan In New Zealand! [PHOTOS]

Marine experts are dwarfed by the Rorqual whale in Mexico.

March 20, 2016 - EARTH - The following constitutes the latest reports of unusual and symbolic animal behavior, mass die-offs, beaching and stranding of mammals, and the appearance of rare creatures.

Rorqual whale found dead on Mexico beach

A specimen of the tropical rorqual whale (Balaenoptera edeni) was found dead on Puertecito Beach in the municipality of Maria Colotepec, in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca, the Profepa environmental protection agency said.

Profepa said in a bulletin that it has taken over the case and has applied the measures laid down in the protocol for dealing with stranded marine mammals.

The large whale, measuring 10.8 meters (35 feet) long and weighing approximately 8 tons, was observed by personnel of the federal delegation of Profepa in the agency, in coordination with the University of the Sea, or UMAR.

Specialists studying the whale specimen identified it as a tropical rorqual, also known as a Bryde's whale.

"This mysticete cetacean has a wide distribution across the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans, and is only absent from the cold Arctic and Antarctic waters," the statement said.

The note also indicated that whales of this kind feed on small shoals of fish and squid, crustaceans like the Mysidacea and krill, and though the causes of its death are being studied, it is considered possible that the whale was affected by the natural red tide phenomenon, or algal bloom.

The tropical rorqual whale is a species listed as subject to special protection. - Fox News Latino.

Dead humpback whale washes up on Block Island, Rhode Island

Young humpback whale washes up dead on Block Island.© Michael Chapman

A young humpback was found washed up dead on a Block Island beach Wednesday. It is believed the animal died while still at sea.

The whale was found belly-up on Crescent Beach by a resident.

Executive Director of Block Island Conservancy Michael Chapman documented the whale on Facebook. Chapman tells NBC 10 News the age of whale has yet to be determined, but it is quite young.

"[A] new born calf is about 20ft. This Humpback looks to be about 25ft. It may have lost its mother as they migrated North this time of year," he said.

Mystic Aquarium has already been contacted to document the incident.

Chapman said it is not uncommon for deceased whales to wash up on Block Island.

In the past, a deceased whale was exploded with dynamite on Crescent Beach to remove it from the area. - Turnto10.

Killer whale strands and drowns leaving calf as an orphan in New Zealand

Dr Visser examines the dead orca that washed up on Mangawhai Beach.ORCA RESEARCH TRUST

An orca that died on Mangawhai Beach may have drowned and Northland orca expert Ingrid Visser is concerned for the lactating whale's orphaned calf.

Dr Visser is hoping results of a necropsy will determine exactly how the orca died, but, with no obvious signs of damage to the whale, which was in "pristine condition", she believes it may have drowned.

An orca can drown if its blowhole is covered and she said, as orca don't have much flexibility in their neck, she would not have been able to lift the blowhole out of the water, as she was found on her side.

"It's a real tragedy when any orca dies like this, but she was lactating - we could see the milk coming out while she was lying there and it was really sad - and she has a wee baby out there somewhere," Dr Visser said.

The calf could be aged between a few weeks and 18 months. She said there had been reports of an orca pod in Whangarei Harbour and at Waipu Cove this week and it was possible the dead orca was a member of that pod, but she wouldn't know for sure until she examined photographs of the pod.

Dr Visser said the orca washed up on the beach just north of the Mangawhai Heads Surf Life Saving Club, early yesterday morning and she got the call about 8am. She immediately drove to Mangawhai from Whangarei to examine the orca.

She said it was common for NZ orca to hunt in shallow waters, which was "a risky business".

It's the second report of an orca dying on a New Zealand beach this week after another stranded on the beach at Patea on Monday.
Dr Visser said, as in that case, Mangawhai locals, including police, members of DoC and iwi, yesterday rallied round when the orca was discovered. It was given a burial by the iwi, with help from a contractor using a digger.

Channel North news producer Rose Stirling was called to cover the event and had hoped she would be covering a whale rescue.

But, Ms Stirling said the whale was just a few metres from the waves on the beach and it was quickly evident the whale was dead.

"My first thoughts were it was dead. I went up to it and touched it because I've never seen a dead whale before. It felt like rubber, kind of like a tyre," she said.

"It was quiet surreal to see such a majestic animal washed up on the beach. I was hoping we would be filming a rescue ... it was quiet tragic." - New Zealand Herald.

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