Stranded Whale Dies Despite Community Care

CENPublished: April 10, 2018
Published: April 10, 2018

The humpback whale that washed up on an Argentine beach over the weekend and was looked after by the local community has sadly died.

The six-tonne, eight-metre humpback (Megaptera novaeangliae) was found on the beach at Punta Mogotes in Mar del Plata, a resort city on Argentina’s Atlantic coast, on Saturday.

The Argentine Naval Prefecture, Civil Defence units, conservationists and community members planned to return it to the sea on Monday when the tide was high enough to move it.

It is understood that the whale died as a result of an infection, however it was also anaemic, malnourished and had injuries from when it washed up on the coast.

The realisation was hard to take for the rescuers and residents who had been with the whale all weekend, helping to keep it hydrated and assisting with plans to move it.

In footage of their final attempt to move the humpback, the rescue team’s struggle seemed to pay off when the whale lifted its tail slightly, however this was just a reflex movement typical after death.

Experts had warned that the young cetacean’s fate was sealed and that it could have suffered more in the water.

A crane had arrived to assist the whale on Sunday afternoon and accompanied with a tugboat, rescuers planned to bring it out to sea when the tide was high enough.

However, after placing a harness around the cetacean, the crane ran aground in the sand and several four-wheel drives were needed to free it.

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