Beached humpback whale blown up
A young humpback whale beached off Cape Town yesterday could not be saved and had to be destroyed.
The year-old calf beached on Sandy Beach, near Hout Bay, early in the morning.
By late yesterday, though it was still breathing and blinking its eyes, wildlife authorities decided they could do no more than put it out of its misery.
They said that even if they had been able to get the animal back into the sea it would have been unlikely to survive.
Department of Environmental Affairs officials said the whale's organs would have been damaged by compression because its enormous weight was not offset by its buoyancy in water.
They euthanised it by detonating explosives on its head.
An environmental department official said: "Almost two-thirds of the weight of the animal is squashed down. Those organs are very sensitive ... there's no way the animal can survive.
"The fact that it's been lying in one position for so long affects circulation and to recondition it to swim freely again can't be done because of its size."
The carcass will be towed to the Hout Bay harbour and then taken to the landfill site at Vissershok, said City of Cape Town spokesman Priya Reddy.