Medical examinations of several whales found that damaged hearing might be the reason they became stranded, the Ocean Conservation Administration (OCA) said on Friday, adding that it would set up guidelines for training marine mammal observers to help mitigate the effects of offshore development projects.
The agency late last month received successive reports that whales were stranded on beaches near Kaohsiung and Tainan.
Rescued whales were taken to pools at National Cheng Kung University’s Marine Biology and Cetacean Research Center.
Photo: Hung Ting-hung, Taipei Times
Nine dead pygmy killer whales were sent for a computed tomography scan, or CT scan, OCA Marine Conservation Division senior specialist Ko Yung-chuan (柯勇全) said.
Abnormal shadows were observed in their middle ears, meaning that their hearing and ability to balance themselves might have been damaged by some disease, he said.
Initial autopsy results found their livers to be blackened, enlarged and inflamed, he said.
To clarify the cause of the whales’ shared symptoms, the agency would perform autopsies on their heads, Ko said.
The rescued pilot whale’s hearing was found to be so damaged that it is deaf, and shows no response to sounds of more than 120 decibels, the agency said, adding that this was the primary reason for its stranding.
The pilot whale now appears anxious and is unable to swim normally it the pool, it added.
The agency and other experts on April 25 rescued five pygmy killer whales, but only one was still alive as of yesterday, Ko said.
Survival chances of whales rescued in groups are relatively low, as the creatures need a large space to swim in and the water must be constantly refreshed, he said.
As cetaceans are sensitive to noise, local conservationists have raised concerns about the construction of offshore wind farms planned off the nation’s west coast.
The agency on Friday held the first meeting on training marine mammal observers with the Ministry of Economic Affairs, state-run Taiwan Power Co and the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA).
The guidelines for observers might not be made available soon, but developers would be required to abide by submissions they made for the EPA’s environmental impact assessment process, Ko said.
MONITORED BY JETS: Chinese aircraft included Y-20 aerial refueling aircraft, suggesting that China refueled its short-range jets during flight The air force scrambled again yesterday to warn away 27 Chinese aircraft that entered its air defense identification zone (ADIZ), the Ministry of National Defense said, the latest increase in tensions across the sensitive Taiwan Strait. Taiwan has complained for a year or more of repeated missions by China’s air force near the nation, often in the southwestern part of its ADIZ, close to the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands (Dongsha Islands, 東沙群島). Over a four-day period beginning on Oct. 1, when China marked its national day, Taiwan said that nearly 150 Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) military aircraft entered its ADIZ, not territorial
The boyfriend of Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Kao Chia-yu (高嘉瑜) was yesterday questioned by prosecutors after Kao on Tuesday reported that he had abused her. Raphael Lin (林秉樞) was taken in for questioning at the Grand Forward Hotel in New Taipei City’s Banciao District (板橋) yesterday morning, and police confiscated his mobile phone, iPad and a data storage device, prosecutors said, adding that they have applied to place Lin in judicial detention. Lin, who does not reside at his registered address, might attempt to flee or tamper with evidence, they said, adding that he has allegedly threatened victims in earlier abuse cases
PAST CATCHING UP: Raphael Lin was last year convicted of intimidating his girlfriend at the time, and in 2015 allegedly confined his parents and assaulted his mother Doctoral student and media commentator Raphael Lin (林秉樞) is in detention and has had his communication rights limited after he was arrested on Wednesday for allegedly subjecting Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Kao Chia-yu (高嘉瑜) to two days of violence in a hotel room, the New Taipei District Court said yesterday. The New Taipei City Prosecutors’ Office had filed a request to detain Lin — who was Kao’s boyfriend at the time of the incident — with the court approving the request early yesterday. The prosecutors’ office said that it is likely to charge Lin with seven offenses: assault causing bodily harm, violating
Italian Representative to Taiwan Davide Giglio has praised the nation as a “silent giant” of the global supply chain, saying he is looking forward to establishing closer cooperation with Taiwan’s world-leading semiconductor sector. “Taiwan’s role in global production chains has largely gone unnoticed until recently. This may have to do with the fact that Taiwanese companies do not always enjoy strong brand power,” Giglio said in an interview with the Central News Agency. However, a global chip shortage has brought to light Taiwan’s strength in such a strategically important sector, he said. Italy, a leader in the automotive sector, was quick to realize