[MARMAM] the stranding of a Bryde's whale neonate in south Bali (2 Feb 2015)

Putu Mustika putu.liza at my.jcu.edu.au
Thu Feb 4 16:08:09 PST 2016

Dear all,

My name is Icha (Putu Liza Mustika), a cetologist based in Bali (Indonesia) and Townsville (Australia). I'm one of database coordinators for Indonesia's national marine mammal stranding network, and I manage reported stranding events at www.whalestrandingindonesia.com<http://www.whalestrandingindonesia.com>.

Last Tuesday (2 Feb) afternoon, one of the vets in our network received a call from Ms Dorion Davis and Baskara DVM that a Code 1 whale had stranded in Canggu, west of Denpasar Bali. When our team went there, they confirmed that it was a 3-4 m whale. We later identified it as a Bryde's whale (Balaenoptera edeni), most probably a neonate from the skinny and folded looks. Efforts to refloat the whale had been futile, Ms Davis described the whale as not having the will to swim; the whale was also tilting when the rescuers tried to refloat it. The whale died soon after. Some photographs and other info of the event can be found on this link.


Our stranding team later brought the whale to a necropsy site on Serangan, Denpasar. The necropsy confirmed the followings:

-          The whale was a 3.28 m female

-          Four clean cuts (similar to the ones from cookie cutter sharks) that seem to be non-lethal found on the body.

-          No trace of milk or other food was found in the gastrointestines. The stomach was empty

-          Possible hypoxia in the lungs and heart.

Preliminary theory is that the neonate was separated from her mother as soon as she was born, hence she was emaciated and deprived of energy. I'm not an expert on Bryde's whale (my PhD was about dolphin watching in Bali), hence I'm not familiar with Bryde's whale neonate behaviours. FYI, I have seen Bryde's whales feeding during my recent line transect surveys south of the stranding in the area in November 2015 (with Conservation International Indonesia and Dr Rob Williams of Ocean Initiatives). This stranding event last Tuesday seems to affirm our theory that the southern water of Bali is an important habitat for Bryde's whales.

Histopathology, heavy metal and DNA tests are now being conducted in Bali and Jakarta.

Any information about the strandings of baleen whale neonates and other info would be greatly appreciated.


Dr Putu Liza Kusuma Mustika
Coordinator, Whale Stranding Indonesia
Director, Cetacean Sirenian Indonesia
Member of the IUCN Cetacean Specialist Group
putuliza at gmail.com<mailto:putuliza at gmail.com> ; putu.liza at my.jcu.edu.au<mailto:putu.liza at my.jcu.edu.au>


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