Friday, March 4, 2016

ANIMAL BEHAVIOR: Migratory Patterns And Disaster Precursors - Southern Right Whale Found Dead On Beach In Cape Town, South Africa; Rare Albino Whale Spotted Off Coast Of Mexico; Whale Shark Found Dead At Palghar, India; And Unknown "Ghostly" Octopod Discovered Off The Coast Of Hawaii?! [PHOTOS + VIDEOS]

A 10-metre long Southern-Right whale has washed up on Melkbosstrand beach. The carcass was spotted early on the 4th March, 2016. © Louise Geldenhuys/iWitness

March 4, 2016 - EARTH - The following constitutes the latest reports of unusual and symbolic animal behavior, mass die-offs, beaching and stranding of mammals, and the appearance of rare creatures.

Southern right whale found dead on beach in Cape Town, South Africa

A 10 metre long southern right whale has washed up on Melkbosstrand Beach.

The carcass was spotted early this morning.

The City of Cape Town's Gregg Oelofse said, "The has initiated and mobilised its whale removal protocol and all teams are heading in that direction and we'll try and remove the carcass as effectively and efficiently as we can.

"The national government from the department of Environmental Affairs is also on their way take samples from the carcass."

#BeachedWhale Oelofse says it's unclear how the whale died. Image: Facebook - Louise Geldenhuys

— EWN Reporter (@ewnreporter) March 4, 2016
The City asked the public to stay away from a section of beach where the whale carcass washed up.

Teams from the City and the national Environmental Affairs Department were at the scene.

Oelofse said the carcass would be removed as quickly as possible.

"We will update the public as the day progresses, but we would ask people to keep clear because we'll be bringing in heavy machinery." - EWN.

Rare albino whale spotted off coast of Mexico

A rare, albino grey whale has been spotted off Mexico's Pacific coast. Marine biologists from the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas (CONANP) captured footage of the magnificent, white mammal swimming with her normal-coloured calf during an annual census off the coast of Baja California.

The bright white whale, which actually belongs to the grey whale species, or Eschrichtius robustus, has been given the nickname Gallon of Milk. Gallon of Milk was first spotted during the 2008/09 season as a juvenile with characteristics of albinism, hence the name. The whale and her calf were sighted in the area known as Isla Alambre, in la Laguna Ojo de Liebre.

WATCH: Rare albino whale spotted.

Albinism is a genetic disorder caused by mutations, resulting in a reduction or complete absence of the pigment melanin. This condition has been recorded in different mammals, birds and reptiles, both in wildlife and in captivity. However, there are few documented records of albino marine mammals.

Researchers have been conducting biological monitoring of the Biosphere Reserve El Vizcaino for 20 years. They have recorded the annual migration of grey whales off the coast of the Mexican Pacific during mating and reproduction season.

During the seventh census carried out this season, 2,211 specimens of grey whales were seen in the Ojo de Liebre lagoon in the Biosphere Reserve El Vizcaino. Of these, 1,004 correspond to calves born in Mexico. The monitoring activities carried out by CONANP have documented the successful recovery of grey whale populations, ensuring the survival of this species for future generations. - IBT.

Whale shark found dead at Palghar, India

Dead whale shark

A 7.3 metre long whale shark washed ashore off the Palghar coast, near Mumbai today. The Maharashtra forest officials rushed to the site to take measurements of the dead fish which attracted many curious locals to the area.

"The whale shark was found dead near the Palghar shore. We will have to ascertain the cause of its death.

It is a matter of concern that so many big sea creatures like whales, dolphins and now whale shark are being found dead on the coasts so frequently," said the chief conservator of forests (mangrove cell) N Vasudevan.

He added that two days ago, a 10 feet long dolphin was found at Vasai, while on Tuesday this week, an over six feet long dead dolphin was found at the Gorai coast of Mumbai."So far in the last two years we have found at least six dead whales in and around Maharashtra coast.

The latest whale shark found near Shirgaon village in Palghar was apparently in a decomposed state. We have asked for a post-mortem to know more about it," said Vasudevan.

Environmentalist D Stalin of the Mumbai based NGO Vanashakti, said: "There can be multiple reasons why such large marine animals are being spotted dead along our coasts. It could do be the increasing sea pollution, and also hectic trawler fishing activities near the shore, which may directed injure dolphins, sharks, whale sharks and also large turtles."

Stalin added that it is sad and tragic that no proper policy is being drafted by the central and state governments to prevent such unfortunate incidents.

"It is a matter of high concern and priority that proper steps are enforced, with the help of expert guidance to see that such lovely marine creatures like whales, whale sharks and dolphins are protected in the sea. Also, a proper research should be carried out in this regard," said Stalin. - Times of India.

Unknown 'ghostly' octopod discovered

Scientists with NOAA found an unknown species of octopod on the ociean floor while mapping uncharted waters off the coast of Hawaii.

WATCH: Unknown 'ghostly' octopod discovered.

- CNN.

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