On 12 December 2012, a humpback whale, still living, stranded on the Dutch desert island Noorderhaaks, also known as Razende Bol.
A few days later, a dead sperm whale stranded on the same island, a few hundred meter away.
How did this story which attracted much attention, including internationally, develop?
Humpback whale beaches
12 December 2012.
This happened on the Razende Bol, a desert island close to the bigger Texel.
People try to save this whale. It is still partially underwater; which is a good sign for survival.
UPDATE: the whale is about 12 meter long. The tide is rising, which may help the whale.
- Good Irish whale news (dearkitty1.wordpress.com)
- Albino humpback whale off Svalbard (dearkitty1.wordpress.com)
- Humpback Whales Up Close and Personal: Gotta-See Video (news.discovery.com)
- In pictures: Humpbacks close up (bbc.co.uk)
- Humpback whale puts on a show for photographer in Baltimore harbour (irishcentral.com)
- Close encounter with humpback whale off Australian coast captured on camera (telegraph.co.uk)
- Unusual sighting of five humpback whales off Ireland’s south west coast – VIDEO (irishcentral.com)
- Whale watchers look the wrong way as huge humpback leaps out of ocean (telegraph.co.uk)
- AK: Humpback Whales (alaskapublic.org)
- Splash Into the 2013 Whale Season! (pacificislandparks.com)
Now, my next whale diary entry; also from 12 December.
Humpback whale, first attempts to save it
This video is about a Texel lifeboat trying to help the whale.
That “tomorrow” was 13 December. Then, I wrote this:
But it is still on a sandbar and its condition is not good.
Photos are here.
Also on 13 December:
My previous update said that the condition of the humpback whale, stranded in the Netherlands, was bad. People thought the animal would probably not survive. It cried, and an Ecomare museum employee standing next to it, cried as well.
However, as the tide rose today, the whale seemed to get livelier.
Ecomare museum on Texel and four lifeboats are digging a fairway and using nets at the moment to enable the whale to swim away.
This happens in darkness, in cold weather.
The humpback whale is nicknamed Johannes (John in English).
I hope he will swim again. But I can’t be sure.
UPDATE: a coast guard helicopter is at the scene, for lighting, so the rescuers will be able to see what they are doing.
Later on 13 December:
Humpback whale, new attempt to save it
This is a Dutch TV video on the stranded humpback whale.
The video shows two lifeboats trying to move the whale to deeper water, after a fairway had been dug.
Tomorrow morning, 7am local time, people will again go to Noorderhaaks island to see how the whale is then.
Then, 14 December:
This video is about the yesterday evening attempt as well. The yellow silhouettes are the lifeboat people.
Later, also on 14 December:
In case that the whale would die, veterinarians would investigate what was the cause of its beaching and death.
Photo of the whale crying: here.
The next day, 15 December:
Yesterday, the Department of Economic Affairs which includes agriculture instructed two veterinarians to go and look at the humpback whale. When they found that the animal was suffering unbearably, the Ministry commissioned them to get the animal to sleep with a painkiller. They have done that on site. Today Mayor Giskes and an expert of Economic Affairs will look at the humpback. The expert will report to the Ministry how things are now with the animal.
Yesterday, there were messages on the Internet that the doctors had supposedly killed the whale.
It looks like that is not true. Ecomare said that the only way one can euthanize a big whale is with explosives; and they did not want that.
Sperm whale beaches
Later on 15 December:
It is a male sperm whale. It is about 13 meter long. It is dead.
This video is also about the dead sperm whale.
As for the humpback, it is still alive, but said to be in a very bad condition. The Dutch government has decided to euthanize the animal with a painkiller tonight.
Ecomare museum which tried to save the whale, getting it swimming again, says this is the government’s decision, not theirs and they are not present near the humpback now. Sea Shepherd protests against the government decision. They say that with painkillers, one cannot euthanize a big whale.
Then, 16 December; a sad day:
Humpback whale dies
Translated from Dutch NOS TV:
Sunday, December 16, 2012, 09:30
Last Friday the whale Johannes got a strong sedative after experts had stated that the animal could not survive anymore. Animal activists think that the government gave up on the animal much too soon.
This reminds me of years ago, when I was in the Antarctic. I saw a humpback whale jumping out of the sea.
RIP, Johannes! And thanks to all people of Ecomare museum, coast guard, lifeboats and others who tried to save you!
No thanks it all, it seems, to Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and his government.
Ecomare museum on the death of the humpback whale: here.
I hope that people will learn lessons from this about how big whales can be saved, even in difficult circumstances.