Rare whale beaches in Australia

This video says about itself:

In a lucky encounter, the Australian Antarctic Division research team spotted a group of extremely rare Shepherd’s beaked whales off the coast of Australia.

From Wildlife Extra:

Rare whale stranding a first for Victoria

Shepherd’s beaked whale found on Australian beach

July 2012. After a public report of an unidentified dead whale at Marlo in Victoria, Australia, an exciting addition has been made to the knowledge of Victoria’s marine wildlife, which will improve our understanding of the species’ biology and evolution.

The whale has been identified as a Shepherd’s Beaked Whale and it is the first stranding record of the species in Victoria, with fewer than five individuals stranded in all of Australia.

The Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment’s Biodiversity Officer Tony Mitchell visited the site and realised immediately that he had never seen a whale like this on the Gippsland coast.

Mr Mitchell said “Given there has only been a handful of confirmed sightings of live animals anywhere in the world, it’s quite incredible to have found this species washed up on Gippsland’s shores. The 6.6 metre whale has a long, dolphin-like beak and is dark brown with pale sides and belly. It is distinguishable from other species by teeth in both its upper and lower jaws.”

Members of the Australian Antarctic Division spotted a small pod of Shepherd’s beaked whales off the coast of Victoria in February … .

One of the least understood cetaceans

This species remains one of the least understood cetaceans (whales and dolphins), largely because of its deep water offshore habitat.

A joint operation by DSE and Museum Victoria performed a post-mortem examination and spent three days preparing the body for transport back to Melbourne for further research. Dr Karen Roberts, Collection Manager at Museum Victoria said the whale stranded at Marlo represents the first example of this species to be added to the museum collection.

“Given the rarity of Shepherd’s Beaked Whale, the study and preservation of this specimen at Museum Victoria is vitally important to developing our understanding of the deep-diving lifestyle, habits and evolution of this mysterious species,” Dr Roberts said.

“It is great to work with the Museum on finds like this, as it’s not often a specimen like this comes our way,” Mr Mitchell said.

An evolution story showing ‘Why Whales are Weird’: here.

July 2012. The sight of a single large pilot whale close in to the coast off Lybster on the Caithness coast in Scotland during the closing hours of the National Whale and Dolphin Watch had marine mammal experts holding their breath: here.

Anti whaling charities harpooning each other rather than fighting for conservation: here.

4 thoughts on “Rare whale beaches in Australia

  1. Pingback: Beaked whales of Samoa | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: Rare beaked whales off South Australia | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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