Humpback whale

After my earlier blog posts here, and here, the news about humpbacks and other whales in the Netherlands did not stop.

Beached humpback “Johannes” died on 16 December. After its death, it turned out the whale was a female “Johanna”.

The dead sperm whale was towed to Texel island. A living humpback and her baby swim along the Dutch coast.

Let us re-start our whale diary on 17 December, the day after the death of the beached humpback whale on Noorderhaaks desert island.

This is a video recorded at Noorderhaaks island near Texel, the Netherlands, about an attempt to save the humpback whale. The video is from 13 December. The whale died yesterday, 16 December. The video shows two lifeboats trying to move the whale to deeper water, after a fairway had been dug.

This video is about the dead sperm whale, which beached on the same island days after the humpback whale.

Humpback whale towed to Texel island

Then, the next day, on 18 December:

This video is called Humpback Whale Song.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

Humpback Johannes in Texel harbour

Tuesday, December 18, 2012, 00:26

Humpback Johannes has been towed to the port of the research institute NIOZ on Texel. Rijkswaterstaat staff made ​​use of the flood and refloated the dead animal, tying its tail to a pontoon boat.

It now floats in the port. Tomorrow a crane will hoist it ashore. There the whale will be investigated by research institute Naturalis.

The humpback whale was confirmed to be dead on Sunday. The animal had stranded last Wednesday on a sandbank. Attempts by Ecomare to rescue the animal had failed.

A photo of the whale being towed is here.

Naturalis museum on the stranded humpback: here.

Ecomare museum on the humpback: here.

This is a Dutch regional TV video, on transporting the dead humpback to Texel.

Update: on Tuesday night, a ship will try to bring the dead sperm whale to the harbour as well.

Then, also on 18 December:

Humpback whale was female

The humpback whale on a Noorderhaaks island sandbar

Translated from Dutch news agency ANP:

December 18, 2012 5:04 p.m.

Humpback ‘Johannes’ is a female

TEXEL – The humpback whale which stranded and died on a sandbank near Texel was a female.

A spokeswoman for Naturalis Biodiversity Center, which investigates the animal, said so.

The beached whale was at one point called ‘Johannes’. This happened when it was alive and the sex could not yet be determined.

The investigation into the cause of death has not yet come to a conclusion. ”On the outside of the body no damage was found, for example, signs of a collision with a ship. Also, our first examination of the intestines has not established a cause yet” said the spokeswoman.

Samples of the animal will be subjected to microscopic examination.

The whale is called Johanna now, instead of Johannes (John in English).

According to Naturalis museum scientists, Johanna was very probably a young immature female.

A photo series is here.

This is a Dutch video about the investigation of the dead humpback whale.

In parliament, Minister Kamp has admitted that the government made mistakes after this whale beached; and that there should be improvements.

How about the sperm whale, which had beached, dead, a few days after the humpback, on the same island? On 19 December, it was towed to the harbour of Texel for research as well.

The dead sperm whale arriving in Texel harbour, photo Gertha Wessels

Fortunately, next day, 20 December, not just news about dead whales, but about living ones.

Humpback whale lives

This video is called Amazing breaching humpback whale.

Translated from Dutch news agency ANP today, 20 December:

Near the Dutch coast there is another humpback whale. The 15 meter long animal was seen by researchers of Institute Imares, who were at sea counting birds, a few kilometers from the coast near Castricum.

Researcher Mardik Leopold describes the humpback as “relaxed, blowing fountains and feeding.” The animal swam alongside the ship and looks “healthy,” says Leopold.

Then, also on 20 December:

Humpback whale mother and baby

This video is called Humpback whales filmed up close and underwater in Bermuda.

According to Ecomare museum Twitter messages, and regional TV, and RTL TV, there is not one humpback whale today near the Dutch coast (Castricum), as reported earlier, but two: a mother and a child.

People on the beach are cheering.

Photos are here.

Still, on 20 December:

Humpback whale watching

This video from Mexico is called Humpback Whale Shows AMAZING Appreciation After Being Freed From Nets.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

“Humpback to the left of the flag!”

Thursday, December 20, 2012, 16:56

By reporter Pauline Broekema

He is from Sousse, Tunisia. Grew up near the sea and is used to marine animals. But for Hesni Sougnir, owner of the beachbar the Weather Vane on the boulevard in Egmond aan Zee this is a unique day. He interrupts his work regularly. In his blue apron he watches intensively behind the surf. In front of his bar the two whales swim. He can not believe his luck.

Regularly, whale watchers come. The humpback whale spotters are of the helpful kind. “To the left of the flag!” it sounds. “Keep the binoculars focused on the surf, then you will see it there!”

Excellent condition

A passerby without binoculars can borrow one. Though there is little to see of the humpback, still the sudden blow fountain is an unexpected sensation. A fin that suddenly pops up out of the sea creates turbulence on the coast. Sougnir has many nature lovers among its customers. “They have been waiting for this for thirty years,” he says.

It’s probably a mother with a baby. This morning, the men of the Egmond lifeboat were close to them in an open boat. “The animals were a in fine condition, as far as I could see” says Henk Biesboer of the lifeboat.

Also on 20 December:

Humpback whale, sperm whale, why did they die?

Dutch whales beached because of NATO war games?

This video is called Navy Sonar & Whales.

First, a humpback whale beached on Noorderhaaks desert island in the Netherlands.

A few days later, a dead sperm whale stranded on the same island.

There has been a lot of attention to attempts to save the humpback’s life, which ultimately did not succeed.

Another issue: why did these two whales beach so soon after each other, on the same island?

On his blog, Arjan Berkhuysen, director of the Wadden sea conservation organisation, discusses this question.

He writes that shortly before the beachings, there were NATO war games in the Wadden sea region. Military planes broke the sound barrier. The sound of these war games may have disoriented the whales. Like navy sonar causes whale deaths.

There is still no scientific consensus on why humpback Johanna and the sperm whale beached on Noorderhaaks.

Dutch humpback map: here.

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One Response to “Humpback whale Dutch update”

  1. mamasheri Says:

    It is always devastating to me when the whales and dolphins beach themselves. I hope the autopsy reveals some kind of reason….. Thank you for letting us know.

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