Friday, 20 July 2012

Rare whale stranding a first for Victoria

Shepherds beaked whale found on Australian beach
July 2012. After a public report of an unidentified dead whale at Marlo in Victoria, Australia, an exciting addition has been made to the knowledge of Victoria's marine wildlife, which will improve our understanding of the species' biology and evolution.

The whale has been identified as a Shepherd's Beaked Whale and it is the first stranding record of the species in Victoria, with fewer than five individuals stranded in all of Australia.
The Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment's Biodiversity Officer Tony Mitchell visited the site and realised immediately that he had never seen a whale like this on the Gippsland coast.
Mr Mitchell said "Given there has only been a handful of confirmed sightings of live animals anywhere in the world, it's quite incredible to have found this species washed up on Gippsland's shores. The 6.6 metre whale has a long, dolphin-like beak and is dark brown with pale sides and belly. It is distinguishable from other species by teeth in both its upper and lower jaws."

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