Saturday, May 30, 2009

33 False Killer Whales shot on Kommetjie beach, Cape Town, South Africa. Causing grief and despair...

A tragedy unfolded on the beach of Kommetjie today 55 False Killer whales had beached themselves early morning False killer whales travel in groups called pods consisting of 20-100 individuals, although pods of several hundred have been recorded.

I went late afternoon and saw many beached whales, some had died out of sheer stress, others had been shot in the head as this was deemed to be the kindest way to release them from certain but painful death they were bleeding but I saw some still alive in the water too
This poor chap didnt make it.... I found it a rather distressing scene
False killer whales are fast, active swimmers. They are very intelligent and highly trainable, which is why they are displayed in many marine parks
They have large, conical teeth as you can see in the above photo (click on the photo to enlarge)
The first appearance of the False Killer Whales in South Africa was on Cristmas Eve, 1928. A school of about a hundred flung themselves on to the beach at Kommetjie

Kindly people tried to save some by carrying and guiding them back towards deeper water but as soon as they regained their strength, they would simply leap on to the beach once more.

Officials and volunteers have been struggling throughout the day to help the whales back into the sea mostly to no avail they kept making a u-turn and re beached themselves

Some solitary false killer whales have become "friendly" around humans, following vessels. One such animal, nicknamed "Willy", became resident in Barkley Sound, B.C. and "adopted" a vessel, the Lady Rose. When the Lady Rose was brought to Vancouver for a steamship festival, Willy followed along and must have lost her amongst all the boat traffic. Willy stayed around Vancouver Harbour for many years and became well-known to sailors and vessel captains. In 2003, Willy travelled north to Juneau, Alaska and back - and the B.C. Cetacean Sightings Network was able to track his travels via regular reports from observers up and down the coast.

These people must have felt frozen, it was already cold for me standing in my 3 layers of clothes on the beach it certainly shows their dedication
What a stunning place to die
but how cruel yet how exquisitely beautiful is our Mother Nature


  1. Thanks for sharing your photos and experience on your blog, Joanne. Indeed, a tragic day. Where did you find the info about the ones that died in the 1920s?

  2. Tara:

  3. Not a good start to my day to read this...tragic...horrid, but thanks for sharing.