Welcome to the Marine Mammal and wildlife Research and Community Development Expedition blog where you can keep up to date with all the happenings and information from Kenya

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A sad day on the water

Today’s marine survey was sadly interrupted with news of a dead humpback whale adrift just outside the marine park. We made a collective decision to leave our planned route to investigate the situation. As we headed in the direction of the reported sighting the body became visible in the distance. Faridi, our boat captain, had noticed something amiss earlier in that direction, once again demonstrating his knowledge and awareness of the waters surrounding Mkwiro and Shimoni.
The huge creature sadly found dead outside Kisite Marine Park

As we got closer to the site, the first thing that hit us was the enormity of the animal, it was humbling. The body was in advanced stages of decomposition, but still held its colour and was identifiable as a humpback whale by its rorqual pleats; there was a great sense of loss between everyone on the boat. It was quite possibly one of the individuals we had seen migrating last expedition. The Kenya Wildlife Service appeared on the scene promptly to investigate and take photographs, but decided against towing it to shore to investigate the cause of death and other critical information. In the distance again we spotted a similar sight, a large disturbance in the waves, and it was confirmed to be another dead humpback whale. We do not know what caused their mysterious deaths; it could have been the storm last week or some other disturbance.
It was, as I said, a humbling yet sad experience, to see such a majestic giant empty and lifeless.