Whale carcass removed from Cape Town's shoreline. Photo: NSRI
Whale carcass removed from Cape Town's shoreline. Photo: NSRI

A whale carcass was sadly found washed ashore in Cape Town, South Africa, yesterday (Thurs 9 Dec). By nightfall the carcass, which had beached amongst rocks on the Sea Point shoreline, had been removed.

Jacques du Toit, City of Cape Town Environmental Management representative, said it’s “very difficult to say what the cause of death is, there’s no visible causes of death, no injuries or nothing broken that we can see on the whale. The young male does look thin, its blubber is not very thick so it can refer to malnutrition but we don’t know why it died and we cannot see if it’s linked to anything man-made or any other impact.”

He told Reuters: “It can happen about 12 times a year that we find whales washed up and we have to remove them along the city’s coastline. We remove them, we take them on a flatbed and we take them to a landfill site, where they get buried.”

In this case though, things didn’t go according to plan…


Whale carcass removed from shoreline
Whale carcass removed from Cape Town’s shoreline. Photo: NSRI

During the day, a bridal was attached to the whale carcass and police divers swam the rope, attached to the bridal, out to sea where they anchored it in preparation for the NSRI to tow the whale carcass at the next high tide – 19h35 – to where Cape Town’s solid waste management team was waiting at Oceana Power Boat Club.

However, during the early stages of the towing operation, the carcass began to sink.

“It was (therefore) agreed to tow the whale to deeper water to be released and at about 2 to 3 nautical miles off-shore, at a depth of 50 meters, the towing rope to the carcass was released and the carcass sunk,” said Quentin Botha, NSRI Table Bay duty coxswain.

The operation was completed at 21h00, and the close working cooperation between NSRI and the Police Dive Unit was commended.

Capetonians have been entertained all week by a super-pod of humpback whales.

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