The Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network was forced to go to Galveston, Texas, once again after the carcass of a previously beached whale resurfaced on one of Texas’ beaches. The reports concerning the body were filed after the whale was buried in a beach trench two days ago.
The Sei whale is part of an endangered species not commonly found in the area. The massive 44-foot mammal was spotted this Tuesday by a local citizen, urging doctors to arrive on the scene. Unfortunately, the whale had to be euthanized, without any clear ways of helping the poor animal.
After it passed, the mission of removing the massive whale from its place in order to bury it was dangerous to say the least. Several straps broke when attempting to move it, threatening the lives of doctors in the process. Even after a thorough autopsy was made on the mammal, no conclusive cause was found for its predicament. With factors ranging from diseases to psychological illnesses, every viable option was considered.
Several lacerations were present on the male whale’s body, but it was unclear if they were caused by its body rolling on the rough beach or some other source. Guards were stationed all through the night between Tuesday and Wednesday in order to fend off curious people from the location so that doctors could perform the necropsy unhindered.
A similar incident where the stranded animal had to be euthanized took place back in February 2011 near the same location. The beached animal was a sperm whale, relatively smaller than the sei whale found Tuesday. In order for the animal to stop suffering, as well as letting doctors conduct their analysis, the animal was put to sleep completely.
Cases regarding beached aquatic wildlife are not completely rare along the coast, with sea lions, dolphins, whales and other species winding up on shore due to various elements. Even climate change can take its toll on the animals, either through the spread of various toxic bacteria which confuse the animal or by removing its food source. Sea lions, for instance, are susceptible to brain damage caused by toxic algae, which in turn cause epileptic seizures, forcing them to strand themselves.
Because the carcass of a previously beached whale resurfaced on one of Texas’ beaches, the death of said whale was brought back into the spotlight once again, reminding both the general public, as well as marine biologists, how fragile the ecosystem actually is. Just a slight change in nature’s balance could lead to massive aquatic animal strandings, which in turn affect the ecosystems balance even more. This event could also be seen as a sore reminder of our impact on nature, an impact that we hope to lessen by changing our industry in accordance with the agreements taken at this year’s COP21 that took place in Paris.