The whale that was sighted in Hong Kong waters is confirmed dead. The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department along with the Ocean Park Conservation Fund salvaged the whale’s carcass from Port Shelter off the coast of Sai Kung on Monday afternoon.
Marine experts will conduct a necropsy to confirm the mammal’s species and determine the cause of its death, which may take a few days.
A video clip surfaced on Monday morning showing what appears to be the whale floating lifelessly on the surface of the water close to a boat, with its internal organs spilling outside its body.
Local media reports stated that the Hong Kong police received a report regarding the whale carcass found in the waters off Sai Kung on Monday morning, where the whale had been sporadically spotted over the past two weeks.
Last week, marine experts urged members of the public not to distress the whale by chasing it on boats or getting too close to it. This request came after photographs appeared online showing propeller marks on the whale’s back.
The seven-metre-long whale — thought to be a Bryde’s Whale — was first spotted feeding near Millionaire’s Beach off the coast of Sai Kung in mid-July. Since then, several videos emerged of the whale coming to the surface of the water, opening its mouth to feed, and then returning underwater.
Bryde’s whales are tropical mammals and, while they do not usually frequent Hong Kong waters, it is not abnormal to see them in the region. The last time a Bryde’s whale was spotted in the vicinity of the SAR was in 2021, when it was sighted in the waters of Dapeng New District and Yantian District in between late-July and August of that year.
Header image credits: GovHK