The staff of the San Pedro Hol Chan Marine Reserve is being assisted by local authorities and tour guides to protect a stranded juvenile Pilot Whale that is just circling the shallow area just in front of Island Academy/The Belize Yacht Club.
Personnel of Hol Chan Marine Reserve were called this morning around 8:30a.m., July 30, 2014, to the site where the whale was spotted by local tour guides. There are obvious lacerations to its right pectoral fin and head and deep cut wounds to its snout. It is believed that the whale was injured by a passing boat and got lost inside the reef. These whales frequent the deep waters just outside of the Belize Barrier Reef and are a common sight.
Hol Chan Marine Reserve is now thinking of possible ways to assist the animal as it does not have the capacity to hold the animal in captivity while they tend to its injuries. Currently there are tour guides on site protecting the whale from passing water vessels while the authorities figure out a solution to assist the wounded animal.
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Update on Pilot Whale from Hol Chan Marine Reserve (Thursday, July 31, 2014):
It is unfortunate to report that the juvenile Pilot Whale died shortly after washing ashore. A necropsy was conducted on the animal which revealed an excessive amount of parasites in its stomach. No parasites were observed in its other organs. Large quantities of parasites would affect the absorption of nutrients and weaken the immune system. The animal was very sick and had possibly slowed down and couldn’t keep up with the rest of his whale pod and was left behind. It would have died eventually.
It is a sad situation, but it is a part of nature. The staff at Hol Chan Marine Reserve would like to thank all those who reported the stranded animal; community support in reporting these incidences allows them to assist any animals that may be in need of help.
“We would also like to thank Mr. Jamal Galvez of the Coastal Zone Management Authority & Institute who took the time to come out and assist with the necropsy. As a reminder to the public, when a marine animal is seen to be in need of assistance please call our office 226-2247 and report the incident and do not try to capture, or interfere with the animal. These animals can be dangerous; so for your safety do not try to approach them.”