South Africa: Beached Whale Sharks

On Saturday morning about 7km north of Cape Vidal in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park two whale sharks, one 5m and the other 6.5m, were found having beached themselves. One had no signs of any injuries but the second had a lump on its head and an old wound on its caudal fin.

This has been seen as a natural occurrence according to iSimangaliso park CEO Andrew Zaloumis, he stated that along the park shores 10 whale sharks a year are found beached.

“While there is much speculation as to why whale sharks beach themselves, the actual reason is not known,” he said.

Even though Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife marine staff and holidaymakers tried to move the whales back into the water they sadly couldn’t and both the whale sharks died.

Last week a whale shark measuring 6.5m also beached itself just north of Leven Point in iSimangaliso.

Zaloumis said the beached animals were measured, photographs were taken and the dorsal fins were removed and sent to the KZN Sharks Board for its monitoring and research programmes.

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