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False killer whale stranded in Taiwan released after rehabilitation

Animal found immobile with injuries on Su’ao beach regains health, survival instincts after 9 days

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The Marine Animal Rescue Network team releases the false killer whale after nursing it back to health. (Ocean Conservation Administration photo)

The Marine Animal Rescue Network team releases the false killer whale after nursing it back to health. (Ocean Conservation Administration photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A Marine Animal Rescue Network (MARN) team nursed a beached false killer whale back to health and released it on Thursday morning (Nov. 25).

The false killer whale was found on a beach in Su’ao on Nov. 17 and showed signs of malnourishment, weakness, and inflamed injuries, reported the Ocean Conservation Administration (OCA). It was unable to float or swim on its own and was taken to a rescue center for medical treatment and rehabilitation, where a MARN team provided over a week of around-the-clock care, according to a press release.

The animal was a male adolescent measuring 320 centimeters in length and weighing 350 kilograms. Volunteers that responded to the Taiwan Cetacean Society’s call helped a team of veterinary experts feed and medicate it, monitor its health, and provide physical therapy.

False killer whale stranded in Taiwan released after rehabilitation
A volunteer feeds the false killer whale fish containing medicine. (Taiwan Cetacean Society photo)

The false killer whale’s food intake gradually rose from two kg a day to eight, and when the animal began to demonstrate learning and survival abilities, veterinarians deemed it fit for release.

A team on a boat provided by the Coast Guard sailed out to sea from Keelung on Thursday morning and successfully released the animal, per the OCA. The Taiwan Cetacean Society told CNA that the false killer whale was very well-behaved during the process, though it seemed a little nervous.

According to the OCA, within the 27-year history of whale and dolphin rescues in Taiwan, there have only been seven false killer whale beaching incidents. The latest marked the first successful rehabilitation and release mission since the establishment of the MARN.

The false killer whale got its name due to its skull’s similarity to that of the orca’s. It prefers warm and deep waters and can be found in tropical and subtropical areas around the world. Adults are generally between 4-6 m in size, and males weigh up to 2,000 kg.


(Facebook, Taiwan Cetacean Society video)


Updated : 2021-12-07 04:24 GMT+08:00