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UAE: 12-metre, 15-tonne dead whale found in Dubai

Khaleej Times logo Khaleej Times 20/06/2021 Staff Report
a group of people that are standing in the sand: UAE: 12-metre, 15-tonne dead whale found in Dubai © Provided by Khaleej Times UAE: 12-metre, 15-tonne dead whale found in Dubai

A male dead Bryde's whale, over 39 feet long and weighing 15 tonnes, has been found in Dubai waters.

Thanks to the cooperation between the Environment and Protected Areas Authority in Sharjah (EPAA), and Zayed University, a complete necropsy of the whale carcass was conducted, and valuable samples were collected, which will help to better understand the condition and ecology of this species in the region, and ultimately support the conservation of these majestic marine creatures.

"This work on the autopsy of the Bryde's whale was part of a programme launched by the Environment and Protected Areas Authority named Sharjah Stranding Response Programme. The purpose of the necropsy is to identify the causes of death and for other scientific research purposes. The Bryde's whales have smooth bodies with dark grey skin on top, and white skin on the bottom, and they are found only in the Indo-Pacific region," said Hana Saif Al Suwaidi, Chairperson of the Environment and Protected Areas Authority.

Al Suwaidi pointed out that the whale was found dead in the Jebel Ali Canal by the DP World emergency team that moved the animal into the port. The animal's body was then successfully recovered and transferred to an area where it was possible to conduct a safe transport operation and a complete autopsy.

A number of parasites were observed in several organs, and the collected samples will be used to check the condition of the various organs, toxicological parameters, in addition to the animal's genetic profile.

Its autopsy revealed no clear evidence of marine debris entanglement or ship strikes, nor was there any trace of food in the stomachs.

The Bryde's whale is rare, but they are widespread in the Arabian Gulf and the Arabian Sea, and two types of Bryde's whales have currently been identified, with one of them possibly containing two different subspecies.

Historically, Bryde's whales in the Arab region were targets for the erstwhile Soviet Union's whaling operations, which were active until the mid-1960s, and recorded the killing of up to 849 whales. However, there are no estimates of the current status of this species and its numbers in the region.

The Environment and Protected Areas Authority (EPAA) in Sharjah seeks to protect the environment and its natural reserves, wildlife and their biodiversity through scientific studies and research. The authority publishes educational awareness material, implements policies for environmental awareness and programs, and launches specialized campaigns in the field of environmental awareness and education

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