A new photograph of the whale that was first spotted in Hong Kong waters in mid-July shows the mammal with scars on its back

Experts from Ocean Park Hong Kong say these scars are from propeller wounds and urge the public to keep their distance from the whale out of concerns for its safety.

There were several sightings of the mammal — suspected to be a seven-metre-long Bryde’s whale — feeding off the coast of Sai Kung over the past weekend. 

One video clearly shows the whale using the trap-feeding technique to consume its prey. This involves the whale remaining still at the surface of the water, with its mouth open to allow schooling fish to enter its buccal pouch before it filters out water through its baleen plates.

However, according to a statement from Ocean Park, crowds were spotted approaching the whale over the weekend, which could cause the mammal “stress and can lead to life-threatening consequences such as inability to rest or feed and trauma.”

Marine experts from the park are working with the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department to monitor the whale and assess its condition.

“Our team has been observing the waters off Sai Kung since July 14 and will continue to do so. We will take seawater samples for environmental DNA analysis upon next spotting of the whale to attempt to identify the species present,” said Philip Wong, General Curator, Zoological Operations & Conservation of Ocean Park.

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Header image credits: Sunny Tong Photography

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From the Middle East to the Far East and a couple of places in between, Anjali has lived in no fewer than seven cities in Asia, and has travelled extensively in the region. She worked as a lifestyle journalist in India before coming to Hong Kong, where her favourite thing to do is island-hopping with her daughter. You can check out her musings on motherhood, courtesy her Instagram profile.

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