SFC: MARINE MAMMAL STRANDED ON SIWAK BEACH IS BRYDE’S WHALE

MIRI, 7 MAY 2017- The marine mammal beached on Siwak Beach, Bakam near here last Thursday has been identified by SARAWAK FORESTRY Corporation (SFC) as a Bryde’s whale (Balaenoptera edeni).

According to SFC which is the lead agency of the Sarawak Marine Mammal Stranding Network (SMMSN), the corporation’s marine biologists needed a collection of photographs from several sources to eventually be able to detect a key feature of the Bryde’s whale, which are the three ridges on its head before its species could be identified. “Based on the appearance of the ridges which are less prominent, its estimated length of less than 10 metres and the sighting of another larger individual whale swimming close in waters near the location, it is believed that the said mammal is a juvenile and the other whale sighted could be its mother,” said a statement issued by SFC.

The Sarawak Marine Mammal Stranding Network is a particular group dedicated to saving marine mammals (dugongs, dolphins, whales, and porpoises) found beached or stranded on shores all over Sarawak. The group comprised standing members from SFC, Forest Department Sarawak, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS), Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA), Fire and Rescue Department Malaysia (BOMBA), Department of Marine Fisheries Sarawak, Veterinary Agriculture Department, Royal Malaysia Police, Sarawak Museum Department and Malaysia Civil Defence Force.

The SFC statement went on to thank in particular the network’s member, BOMBA for their quick response to dispatch their men and also to the public for their assistance which have greatly contributed to a swift rescue operation. The last recorded sighting of stranded Baleen whale (the group which the Bryde’s whale belongs to) in Sarawak was at Kuala Tatau in February 2014 which was also successfully released back to the sea, thanks to public participation.

Members of the community are advised to lodge reports of stranded marine mammals to the nearest SFC offices as follows; Kuching- 082610088, Sibu- 084337444, Bintulu- 086313726 and Miri- 085436637.