Two dolphins and a whale were found stranded on the east coast over the past week, the Ocean Conservation Administration (OCA) said yesterday, adding that the whale had been pregnant and had consumed a large amount of plastic waste.
The agency said that it worked with National Taiwan University veterinarians to perform autopsies, during which it found no significant connection between the three cases, ruling out the possibility of a mass stranding.
The carcass of a young male pantropical spotted dolphin measuring about 1.72m in length was found on the Chongde (崇德) coast in Hualien County’s Sioulin Township (秀林) on Wednesday last week, it said.
Photo courtesy of the Ocean Conservation Administration
It had been dead for a while and some of its fins had been bitten off by stray dogs, but there were no other apparent injuries, the agency said, adding that the cause of death was not yet clear.
Two days later, a 5.65m-long female Cuvier’s beaked whale was found on the same coast, it said, adding that a postmortem found that its three stomach chambers were filled with four gunny sacks, six plastic bags, two fishing lines and several pieces of debris.
The agency said that it could not conclude whether the whale had died from consuming too much garbage before more information regarding the autopsy is made available.
Photo courtesy of the Ocean Conservation Administration
The whale had probably not lost its ability to consume food, given that there was some squid in its stomach, but the indigestible trash must have exerted huge pressure on its physiological functioning, it said.
An unborn whale measuring 1.65m died with the whale, the agency said, adding that its body would be preserved in a freezer to be studied.
On Friday last week, a Risso’s dolphin was stranded on the beach of Taitung County’s Chenggong Township (成功).
Its body would be dissected tomorrow, OCA senior specialist Ko Yuan-chuan (柯勇全) said.
The three cases coincide with another incident reported in the Philippines last week, when nearly 40kg of waste was found in the stomach of a Cuvier’s beaked whale.
The cases show that marine garbage poses a great threat to marine life, the agency said, calling for more efforts to reduce plastic pollution and improve the marine environment.
There are usually more strandings reported in spring, and in two weeks the agency is to publish accumulated data about stranded whales, dolphins and sea turtles on the nation’s coasts, Ko said.
‘WEAK POSITIVE’: The man arrived in Taiwan in May and was quarantined for two weeks, Chen Shih-chung said, adding that he might be infected a long time ago The government is considering tightening mask-wearing rules again in light of a potential domestic COVID-19 infection, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) confirmed seven new COVID-19 cases, six of which are imported. The other case involves a Belgian engineer who entered Taiwan on May 3 and remained in quarantine until May 17, said Chen, who heads the CECC. Although the source of infection has yet to be identified, the case could end the nation’s record of not having any domestic cases in the previous 110 days. The Belgian, in his 20s, is a technician
BRIBERY CASE: President Tsai Ing-wen accepted Su Jia-chyuan’s resignation as he said that he deeply regretted causing trouble for the president due to the investigation Presidential Office Secretary-General Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) yesterday resigned after his nephew, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Su Chen-ching (蘇震清), was implicated in a bribery case related to a dispute over the ownership of Pacific Sogo Department Store (太平洋崇光百貨). “I resigned from the post so that President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) would not be bothered by it anymore, and the prosecutors can investigate the case in a fair and just manner. I thank President Tsai once again for supporting me. May the country continue to prosper under her leadership,” Su Jia-chyuan said in a statement. The Presidential Office said that Tsai has accepted
ALEX AZAR: The first visit by a head of the Department of Health and Human Services would strictly observe the CECC’s special regulations, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said US Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar is to lead a delegation to Taiwan — the highest-level visit by a US Cabinet official since the two sides cut formal relations in 1979. The plan was announced yesterday morning by the US Department of Health and Human Services and confirmed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA). Beijing has expressed its concerns to Washington, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Wang Wenbin (汪文斌) said later yesterday. Taiwan and the US only issued statements saying that the visit would happen “in the coming days.” MOFA said that due to security concerns, it would
The military last week sent “no small number” of Marine Corps officers to the Pratas Islands (Dongsha Island, 東沙群島) following reports of a Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) drill targeting the islands scheduled for this month. In an interview with Hong Kong’s Bauhinia Magazine published on Saturday last week, PLA National Defense University professor Li Daguang (李大光) confirmed that the Chinese army was planning to stage a simulated invasion of the Pratas Islands in the South China Sea this month. The islands comprise three atolls, with Pratas Island, at 1.74km2, being the largest. They lie southwest of Taiwan proper in the South