A rarely seen in Taiwan pygmy sperm whale (Kogia breviceps) died despite rescue efforts after stranding on a beach in Chiayi County this morning, Sunday, February 13.
A fisherman found the pygmy sperm whale stranded on a beach in Budai Township at around 8:00 am. The fisherman reported the stranding to the local branch of the National Coast Guard Administration.
Coast guard officers contacted the National Cheng Kung University Marine Biology and Cetacean Research Center, and attempted to keep the whale alive, but it died during the rescue process.
Marine biologists examined the animal and determined that it was an elderly female with a length of 255 centimeters. The whale is suspected to have been physically weak due to old age and exhaustion, and had suffered shark attack injuries. The injuries are suspected to have been exacerbated due to wave action after it stranded in shallow waters.
While the cetacean’s death is unfortunate, due to the fact that it is a rarely sighted species, it will provide a valuable specimen for research at the National Cheng Kung University Marine Biology and Cetacean Research Center where an autopsy will be performed to determine the cause of death.
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