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 Post subject: Re: False Killer whales beach at Kommetjie
Unread postPosted: Sun May 31, 2009 10:59 pm 
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This is a great thread p@m! :thumbs_up:

o-dog, the beached whales look like Pilot whales to me, and most reports referred to Pilot whales.

Let’s look at Pilot whales and False Killer whales.

Both Pilot whales and False Killer whales are cetacean (mammals best adapted to aquatic life). Both their genus are part of the oceanic dolphin family (Delphinidae).

Pilot Whales are jet black or a very dark grey color. The dorsal fin is set forward on the back and sweeps back. The body is elongated but stocky and narrows abruptly toward the tail fin. Pilot whales have bulbous heads.

False Killer whales are mostly black in colour and don’t have such distinctive bulbous heads as Pilot whales. Furthermore False Killer whales don't have such a distinctive backwards sweeping of their dorsal fins.

False Killer whales are also known to beach…During June 2005 up to 140 (estimates vary) were beached at Geographe Bay, Western Australia. The main pod, which had been split into four separate beachings, was successfully moved back to sea with only one death after the intervention of 1,500 volunteers and in 1970, 150-175 False Killer whales beached themselves on the Atlantic coast of southern Florida and refused to return seaward, despite the best efforts of volunteers. All of the whales subsequently died and the cause of this mysterious event was never determined.

Looking at the photos of the beached whales, the whale’s bulbous heads are clearly visible and that shows the beached whales were Pilot whales.

This whales beaching are a mystery for sure! :hmz:


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 Post subject: Re: False Killer whales beach at Kommetjie
Unread postPosted: Sun May 31, 2009 11:19 pm 
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Quote:
This whales beaching are a mystery for sure!


Only additional info which may or may not have anything to do with it is that there was a big storm passing with very heavy seas.
As for navigational error -- who knows ?
Maybe the Navy were running exercises out at sea or there was a siesmic event that we were unaware of or maybe they just got lost with the storm.
All pure speculation.

There are many documented cases of beachings on the coast of Tazmania as well.


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 Post subject: Re: False Killer whales beach at Kommetjie
Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2009 12:15 am 
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Thanx for that info TheunsH...will go with Pilot whales too - I was one of the bystanders for a while in the early morning until they told us to get out of the area. Very sad but yet if its a natural phenomenon then I can deal with it. Just hope its not due to some anthropogenic cause.

I can post some pics but probably a bit of a sad subject so unless someone asks, I wont post any.

Thanx for the thread p@m...

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 Post subject: Re: False Killer whales beach at Kommetjie
Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2009 7:55 am 
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o-dog wrote:
I can post some pics but probably a bit of a sad subject so unless someone asks, I wont post any.

Morning o-dog!

Please post your photos, would love to see them.


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 Post subject: Re: False Killer whales beach at Kommetjie
Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2009 8:06 am 
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Please do I'll close my eyes :)


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 Post subject: Re: False Killer whales beach at Kommetjie
Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2009 10:16 am 
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Morning TheunsH, Micetta!

No problem...will try and post them this evening!
Ciao

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 Post subject: Re: False Killer whales beach at Kommetjie
Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2009 10:32 pm 
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...here are some pics following the sad scene of the beached Pilot Whales on Kommetjie. If you have been following the story, like on Cape Talk, you would have realised that its quite a controversial one.
As an onlooker who probably shouldnt have been there, I found that infact it was the average resident from the area that got together in groups and at least tried to save the poor whales, while all the authorities did was seem to stand around (from what I saw). The area was poorly controlled for the number of people in high positions there and perhaps a more coordinated approach could have resulted in more success in the excercise of saving these animals. A lot of what I hear on the radio is of people bitching and saying that the volunteers got in the way of authorities.
Well at least if the authorities didnt do anything the volunteers did try. It should have been left to the 'experts' they say...
Well can someone tell me if there is an EXPERT in the subject of beaching whales, probably one of the least understood natural events that takes place!
Either way it looked that this group of whales were not going to swim back out to see....I think probably rightly so, many were put out of there misery. Then people came a complained that they were shooting the whales infront of kids. But why were the kids there, as the area was called out of bounds to the public?? No organisation as well as the public not paying attention to the few police etc that were telling people to leave!
Anyway here are some pics of what went on...I have to say although I windsurf myself, I thought this guy was rather selfish considering what was going on around him...

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

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 Post subject: Re: False Killer whales beach at Kommetjie
Unread postPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2009 10:52 am 
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Thanks for the photos and report o-dog! :clap: :clap:

It's surely a very sad incident.


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 Post subject: Re: False Killer whales beach at Kommetjie
Unread postPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2009 5:29 pm 
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The animals at Kommetjie were False Killer Whales, and not Long-finned Pilot Whales, as shown by:
-lack of a bulging forehead (bulging in long-finned pilot Whale)
-short pectoral fins (much longer in long-finned pilot Whale, especially in the section beyong the 'elbow' bend)
-lack of pale sadle patch (patch behind the dorsal fin)

Both species relate closely to the much larger Killer Whale (Orca) and actually belong to the Dolphin Family. They often don’t survive beaching, although a recent Australian success story shows that it is possible to save them under the right circumstances. (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_Killer_Whale)

See more thoughts, questions and pictures of the beached whales at Kommetjie on my blog:
http://beachedwhalesshotkommetjiecapeto ... press.com/

All best,
Deirdre


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 Post subject: Re: False Killer whales beach at Kommetjie
Unread postPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2009 7:39 pm 
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Thanks for your post, Deidel. And welcome to the Forum :clap: :clap:

Your blog has given me more insight, but of course, I would like to read the other side's view as well.

In any event, it was definitely a truly sad day for our marine life.

We've heard speculations that the navy was busy with maneuvers, and that this might have resulted in the whales beaching. Do you know anything about these rumours? Or are they just that?

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 Post subject: Re: False Killer whales beach at Kommetjie
Unread postPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2009 8:39 pm 
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Thank you for the post deidel and a warm welcome from me as well :thumbs_up: :thumbs_up:

I've read you post and the whales beaching was a very sad and tragic event indeed. From the pictures posted by o-dog (especially the last one) and your pictures, posted on your blog, the beached whales seem to be False Killer whales after all.

Thanks for sharing your experiences on your blog. It's strange for me that people, like you, were hindered and stopped by officials trying to help the whales! :hmz:


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 Post subject: Re: False Killer whales beach at Kommetjie
Unread postPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2009 8:58 pm 
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@o-dog -- thank you for posting your pics here :clap: :clap:

@diedel -- welcome to the forum and I hope you spend many happier hours here -- am sure the birding forum will be of great interest to you :D

Thank you for your comments and for the link to your blog. Just a couple of points : the whales that were saved by all those volunteers were walked around for 3 days, in quiet seas, until they were fit enough to proceed on their journey. Not the case on Saturday.
If you are interested, there is a facebook group that has formed to try to thrash out procedures for if it ever happens again. I do not belong to facebook so have no clue on how to post a link to it :redface:
But an interesting comment made by someone with knowledge, is that it would be better (in many cases) to simply euthenase the animals immediately to save them the trauma and stress of being handled and injured.

@Elzet -- the navy was busy with exercises the week before, but say they were not using sonar devices.


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 Post subject: Re: False Killer whales beach at Kommetjie
Unread postPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2009 9:03 pm 
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Oh, and another comment : there has been a lot of criticism of Marine and Coastal management for not having plans in place. However, it is not a common occurrence and the guys on the ground have to call it as they see it. My hat goes off to them :clap: :clap: Especially the man who made the decision to euthenaze them and made sure he did it himself -- well done ! Really not an easy way out.


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 Post subject: Re: False Killer whales beach at Kommetjie
Unread postPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2009 10:36 pm 
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Tx Pam, always good to hear the flip side before forming an opinion... :thumbs_up:

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 Post subject: Re: False Killer whales beach at Kommetjie
Unread postPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2009 10:41 pm 
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Hi P@m, thanks for those comments. I thought a bit further about the 'humanely euthanising'...

I tend to think of two approaches: either we let nature take its course and let the whales be - even if the beaching was caused by human causes.
Or, we interfere and manage - which is what we tend to do. Then I see the questions: what will we manage for? For minimizing pain in the animals, or for trying to rescue individual animals as best we can for the sake of maintaining populations and species - even if the animals may be in pain for longer?

I'm not sure what the population status is for False Killer Whales, but I here assume that it warrants great efforts for trying to save as many as possible individuals. Should our notion of pain in the animals then really have terminated the huge rescue operation?

(And do we really know how much it is in pain? If we do, should we start shooting someone who just lost its arm)?

Many volunteers and bystanders describe the rescue-operation as chaotic and mismanaged (see other posts in this blog, also see the Cape Times June 2, 2009, page 8). The authorities asked the rhetorical question: "Would you not want to end an animal's suffering?". It does sound 'logic and the best option' to do so; who would say 'no'?

Does 'humanely euthanasing' (or 'shooting in the brain') justify ending the rescue operation? What about focusing on the rescue solution, such as waiting for high tide, providing straps, more blankets and coaching? Preventing pain in animals doesn't seem to be a pure argument for ending what we tend to manage for: saving populations and species.

Unless perhaps there are enough False Killer Whales anyway, and so only their comfort is what counts to us. In that case, why have considered rescueing beached animals in the first place?

More on my blog http://beachedwhalesshotkommetjiecapetown.wordpress.com


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