Thank you for the rescue of Mola

Eileen van der Schyff

A resident wants to extend her heartfelt thanks to all involved in helping a Mola Mola back into the ocean on Sunday morning. She came across the Mola Mola (also known as a Sunfish) when she cycled along the beach.

On her way back to Langstrand Anna Mart Kruger, a well known local physiotherapist, spotted something that at first looked like a sea turtle, moving its flippers trying to get back into the ocean. At closer inspection Kruger saw it was a Mola Mola. “It had a few small wounds around the mouth and the one flipper. I did not have my phone with me. I ran to a group of surfers nearby and got a phone from one I only know as Oliver”.
Naudé Dreyer was informed and the Namibia Dolphin Project was contacted by him”, according to Kruger.
In the meantime, more people started to arrive at the scene. A vehicle with South African visitors also stopped to help.
“It took five of us to get the fish moving with the small waves. It was tired and swam back a few times with the current”, explained Kruger.
The Mola Mola after three attempts managed to return to deeper water. Kruger added the skin of the Mola Mola was so rough that her hands had cuts from merely holding it. It is a well-known fact that Ocean sunfish can become so infested with skin parasites, they will often breach the surface up to 3m into the air, in an attempt to shake off the parasites.
In a telephonic interview with Kruger yesterday, her concluding words were: “Always take your phone with you when you are out cycling. You never know what might happen.”
The Mola Mola is the heaviest of all bony fish. It can reach 4.3 m in length and 3m in width. It can weigh as many as 2 300kg. They are clumsy swimmers.
They consume jelly fish, small fish, huge amounts of zoo-plankton and algae. They are frequently seen basking in the sun on the water surface and are often mistaken for sharks when their huge dorsal fins emerge above the water. The sun can reflect from the fish’s body surface when it lies on the surface and that is believed to have ensured it the name “Sunfish”.
Their teeth are fused into a beak-like structure, and they are unable to fully close their relatively small mouths.
Note: The Namibian Dolphin Project was started in 2008 with the focus on the research of coastal dolphins and whales in Namibian waters to generate high quality data that is useful to both science and management.)

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