On Tuesday the KZNSB received a call from the beach manager at Amanzimtoti to say that a small whale was entangled in the shark nets at that beach. A KZNSB boat deployed to find a 4m humpback whale calf that, unfortunately, was dead.
The calf was towed offshore. In a separate incident, the KZNSB received a call from the beach manager at Scottburgh to say that a small whale had stranded alive on the rocky shore near the caravan park.
KZNSB staff investigated and found no evidence of shark net involvement in the stranding. The Scottburgh animal was also a humpback whale calf measuring just over 4m. The KZNSB notified Ezemvelo KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife, the provincial authority responsible for attending to stranded marine mammals.
Members of the public tried unsuccessfully to return the animal to the water but it would probably have had little chance of survival.
The local humpback whale population has recovered extremely well since commercial exploitation of the species ended in the previous century.
As local whale population grows so does the potential for strandings to occur but also for there to be entanglements in fishing gear, including shark safety gear.
The public is urged to notify the KZNSB on 031 5660400 of any marine mammal entanglement. The KZNSB goes to great lengths - through the activities of its specially trained and equipped whale release teams - to free any whale found alive in the gear.