Dwarf Minke Whale Stranding

May 23, 2019 Dyer Island Conservation Trust

On the evening of the 21st of May 2019, Dyer Island Conservation Trust’s CEO Wilfred Chivell, was contacted by Neil Falck regarding the stranding of a Minke Whale at Struisbaai. A team consisting of Wilfred, and biologists Alison Towner, Kelly Baker and Ralph Watson was dispatched the next morning to investigate.

Based upon colour-patterns and personal investigation, it was determined that the individual was a male Dwarf Minke Whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata subsp). No external markings were visible that could explain the cause of death. Its eyes were missing, which could possibly be explained by scavenging sea-birds. Its length was suspected to be approximately 2.5 meters. It was clearly a young specimen. “It is rare for this species to wash up and although sad, it is scientifically intriguing,” said Wilfred.

The Dwarf Minke whale was collected by DEA (Oceans and Coast) and taken to Cape Town for the necropsy.

It was great for the team to cross paths with the team from Oceans and Coasts - Deon Kotze and Steven McCue; as well as fellow marine naturalists Peter Chadwick and Jean Trefson.

Marine animal stranding response in the Overberg area is managed by a collaborative group of organisations: CapeNature, Department of Environmental Affairs, Dyer Island Conservation Trust, Hermanus Animal Hospital 24HR Service, Mammal Research Institute Whale Unit, National Sea Rescue Institute, Overberg District Municipality and Overstrand Municipality.