Humpback whale stranding continues – Another washed out at Mile 106

Scientists are concerned after yet another humpback whale carcass washed out along Namibia’s coastline.

The latest stranding occurred about 30 kilometers north of Cape Cross at Mile 106. According to Lüderitz Marine Research this brings to at least the tenth dead whale found in just the past two months along the Namibian and South African west coast shores.
“Unfortunately we don’t have any indication as to why this is happening. At the moment and without full necropsies carried out, it is impossible to come to any conclusions,” the Namibia Dolphin Project (NDP) said in a statement recently.
“This is a very unusual occurrence as humpbacks are normally seen off the Namibian coast between June-November and we usually get no more than two strandings reported throughout the whole year,” the statement continues.
Peaks in humpback strandings have occurred in the past elsewhere in the world though (in Brazil and Australia). “So it is not unheard of for this to happen.” According to the NDP the west African population has been growing steadily (between 7 and 10 % annually) and the population is generally regarded as a healthy one. Therefore competition for resources (e.g. food) also increases. “This may force younger animals to forage in new areas and this may be why we are seeing humpbacks off Namibia at this time of year.”
The statement continues that there are a number of humpbacks occurring off the west coast of South Africa during the summer months, feeding in the rich Benguela current, but there is very little data from the Namibian coast. “So while this is a tragic occurrence, the data it provides is vital in filling in the gaps in our knowledge of this species,” it states.
Namib times will report more on this soon.

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