The Sowerby’s beaked whale, which appeared on the coast of Mecklenburg in the well-Wiek, a bay on the Baltic coast of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, in late September, has touched the hearts of the people.
In the beginning, fishermen had valiantly tried to lead the animal to deeper waters after finding it stranded in shallow waters, but to no avail.
"The situation is not easy," said Dr Michael Dähne, curator of marine mammals at the German Oceanographic Museum in Stralsund, recounting the last time a Sowerby’s beaked whale was stranded at the Greifswald Oie — in 1913. He added that in the past, most of the stranded whales that had not managed to find their way back into the Baltic Sea had died on the beach.
Staff of the German Oceanographic Museum have been visiting the well-Wiek to observe and collect information about this rare visitor. The information can be used to assess whether the whale is injured and how best to help it. They have also been communicating with the various organisations and conservation agencies in a bid to come up with a solution to help the whale find its way to the open seas.
In the meantime, many onlookers had been coming to see the animal. Director of the German Marine Museum Dr Harald Benke said, "The important thing is not to alarm the animal further. Here, everyone can help."
He requested boats to remain at least 200 metres away from the whale. The motor and sonar devices should be switched off so as not to disturb the whale’s hearing and orientation. In addition, people should not use any submersible or floating device, or do anything to excite the whale.
And, for those who are keen to assign a name to the whale, Dähne has a tip: "We are now very sure that it is a young female."
If there are further sightings of the whale, you can contact the German Oceanographic Museum at telephone number 0049 (0)176 – 22 32 56 05.
Photo copyright: © German Oceanographic Museum
5th October 2015