Sperm Whale strandings are rarely reported in Kenya, so coastal communities were surprised when two, possibly three of these 15 metre marine mammals were stranded on Kenyan and Tanzanian beaches this month
Little is known about the toothed 15 metre Sperm whale is Kenya. The Kenyan Marine Mammal Network, a coalition of scientists and conservationists recording all marine mammals, which so far number 17 and increasing, have occasional sightings from fishermen in recent years.
Little is known about these off shore mammals, and it came as some surprise therefore to have two strandings of adult whales within two weeks of each other 500 miles apart in Kenya and Tanzania.
The the first Sperm whale stranding was north of Malindi in Ngomeni at beginning of October. Cause of death unknown, though local fishermen suspect due to oil and gas exploration, it has not been confirmed. The second stranding of another sperm whale took place two weeks later in Kilwa Tanzania. Strandings of marine mammals can take place if they are sick or injured, or even due to disorientation attributed to oil and and gas exploration, which was suspected as the cause in the case of the mass beachings of Sperm whales in Germany. Reported by National Geographic earlier this year necropsies revealed marine debris in their stomachs, including car parts Sperm Whales Stranded with Car parts in Stomachs, Germany
Thanks to the Kenya Marine Mammal Network team for gathering reports with CANCO, the conservation and community rights lobby group focusing on oil and gas exploration in Kenya, Kenya Wildlife Service, Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research institute, National Environment Management Authority and WWF Kiunga with Watamu Marine Association and Wildlife Conservation Society.
For videos and photos of the strandings see Sperm Whale Strandings Kenya and Tanzania
Update on Sperm Whale Strandings Tanzania and Kenya
And citizen science footage of stranded sperm whale Tanzania Sperm whale stranding footage Tanzania
Also see: http://www.watamu.biz