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Whale shark found dead after beaching on Taiwan's east coast

Experts puzzled over cause of death, as beaching incidents unusual in Taiwan

The carcass of a whale shark was found washed ashore in Taitung.

The carcass of a whale shark was found washed ashore in Taitung. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A whale shark found dead on the beach near Taitung’s Zhiben River (知本溪) has been buried, CNA reported on Tuesday (Aug. 31).

The Coast Guard received a report about a large object floating near the shore on Monday evening (Aug. 30), which turned out to be the carcass of a 3.8-meter whale shark.

Though the Coast Guard tried to save the shark amidst strong waves, the shark had been dead for hours before they arrived. Upon realizing it was dead, the Coast Guard tied down the shark’s tail and awaited support from experts.

The whale shark was estimated to be two to three years old, showed no signs of external injury, and was normal-sized for its age. Therefore, it was unlikely it died from being attacked by another species or from starvation due to a trash-related digestive blockage.

According to UDN, the remains were buried on the spot on Tuesday morning after samples were taken to be examined.

Huang Yu-hsu (黃侑勖), an assistant fellow at the Eastern Marine Biology Research Center, after arriving on the scene said the incident was unusual, as there have only been a few other beaching incidents in Taiwan.

Updated : 2021-09-18 11:47 GMT+08:00