Three pygmy killer whales rescued from the Port of Kaohsiung (高雄港) died on Friday night despite hours of treatment by experts, who found 18 entangled plastic bags in the stomach of one of the whales.
The three whales were part of more than 20 cetaceans disoriented in the port and reported to Kaohsiung City Government’s Agriculture Bureau on Feb. 4.
The agriculture bureau found the carcasses of a Risso’s dolphin and eight pygmy killer whales in the days following the alert.
Photo: Tsai Ching-hua, Taipei Times
After efforts to rescue three surviving whales failed on Tuesday last week, the bureau, under the advice of Wang Chien-ping (王建平), director of the Marine Biology and Cetacean Research Center at National Cheng Kung University, decided to bring them to shore to save them from dying in the cold weather, it said.
More than 60 people joined the effort to catch them on Friday, including workers from Taiwan International Ports Corp; shipbuilder CSBC Corp, Taiwan; China Steel Corp; the Forestry Bureau; the city government’s Marine Bureau; and rescue associations in Chiayi and Pingtung counties, the agriculture bureau said.
After more than three hours, they managed to bring the three whales to shore and sent them to the university’s research center for medical care.
Despite hours of treatment, the whales lost their lives on Friday night, Wang said yesterday, adding that their cardiopulmonary functions were weak before they died.
Unidentifiable garbage and plastic bags were found in the whales’ stomachs when the center dissected the bodies.
A bundle of “black stuff” was dragged from the stomach of the thinnest whale — the mass turned out to be 18 entangled plastic bags.
“The whale’s stomach was stuffed with bags. It could not take in any more, although it must have been very hungry,” Wang said, while calling on the public to reduce plastic bag use and stop dumping garbage in nature.
Many netizens found the news heart-wrenching, with some saying: “Humans should apologize to you!”
Why the creatures became disoriented is uncertain, the agriculture bureau said, adding that if people find any whales or dolphins disoriented or grounded along the shore, they should immediately report it to the city government using the 1999 hotline.
The Han Kuang exercises, the nation’s major war games, are to start today and run for five days. The drills are to include a military aircraft emergency takeoff and landing exercise on a regular roadway on Wednesday, featuring all three fighter jet models in Taiwan’s fleet, a military source said last week. The drill is to begin at 6:30am on a 3km section of Provincial Highway No. 1 in Pingtung County’s Jiadong Township (佳冬), and feature an Indigenous Defense Fighter, an F-16V, a Mirage 2000-5 and an E-2K Hawkeye early warning aircraft, the source said. The emergency landing and takeoff drill aims to
MRNA VACCINE: Heart inflammation is rare, but possible after a Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 shot, and students need to be aware of possible side effects, an expert said As Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccinations for students aged 12 to 17 are to begin on campuses on Thursday next week, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday urged recipients to be especially watchful for five signs of possible myocarditis or pericarditis, which are rare adverse reactions to some COVID-19 vaccines. The Ministry of Health and Welfare’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices convener Lee Ping-ing (李秉穎) joined the CECC’s daily news briefing to report on possible side effects after receiving a BioNTech vaccine. Lee said that cases of myocarditis and pericarditis have been observed in people in the US who have received mRNA COVID-19
Taiwan on Friday accused China of seeking to use the Honduran election to “create controversy” and undermine Taiwan’s long-standing ties with the country, saying it would strive to win support for Honduras’ relations with Taipei. Honduras’ main left-wing opposition party, the Liberty and Refoundation Party (LIBRE), led by ousted former Honduran president Manuel Zelaya, has said that if it wins November’s presidential election it would seek to “readjust” the country’s debt and establish diplomatic relations with China. Honduras is one of 15 UN member countries that maintain formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which has already warned Honduras not
TESTING THE WATERS: Making the considerations public a day after a Biden-Xi phone call indicates that the US is testing China’s reaction, a think tank head said A Financial Times report that the US is considering allowing Taiwan to change the name of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Washington to feature the name “Taiwan” highlighted Washington’s “two-pronged” approach to China, a researcher said yesterday. The report on Friday said that Washington might allow the nation to change the office’s name to “Taiwan Representative Office.” The report came after US President Joe Biden on Thursday spoke with Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) by telephone for the first time since February. A White House readout of the call said that “the two leaders discussed the responsibility of both