2 Young humpback whales found dead in Panamanian waters

Panama City, Jul 28 (EFE).- Two juvenile humpback whales were found dead this week in Pacific Ocean waters off the coast of Panama, the Central American nation’s government said Friday.

The most recent find took place Friday on the island of Taboguilla, the Environment Ministry said in a statement.

The proprietors of a privately owned stretch of beach spotted the whale and alerted authorities, who moved the remains out to sea in accord with ministry policy.

“The death of an animal forms part of a natural process of transfer of nutritive substances for other species of the biological community. This whale will serve for the consumption of other animals,” the Environment Ministry said.

On Wednesday, a young humpback whale 5.38 m (17.6 ft) in length was discovered in an estuary in Los Santos province.

The body was “in an advanced state of decomposition” and there was no obvious cause of death, the ministry said.

Because the whale washed up in a hard-to-reach area that is not frequented by tourists, the ministry decided to leave the carcass to be devoured by scavengers.

During the annual migrations of whales and other species, the ministry said, “it is common that those individuals who have conditions such as illness, or advanced age, do not bear the energy cost that this movement from the South Pacific to Panamanian waters represents.”

Deaths of migratory marine life can be due to natural causes or to the effects of human activities, including fishing, seaborne transportation, pollution, military exercises, and oil prospecting.

Between July and November, humpback whales travel more than 8,000 km (5,000 mi) from Antarctica to bear their young in warm water, while the southward migration from the Arctic takes places in the December-March period. EFE


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