The body of a humpback whale that was spotted floating in the Table Bay area last week made its way ashore yesterday, March 3.
It is believed the whale was fatally hit by a boat last week and the carcass has since travelled over a large distance in the water to end up a few kilometers north of Koeberg near Melkbosstrand.
Seafari App and Marine Conservationist Photographer Jean Treason were able to spot the body of the whale from the air during a flight they made together yesterday, March 3.
According to Seafari App the body is in a fairly remote area and it will be left to decay naturally providing food for the local “non-human” inhabitants.
What happens when whale bodies decay?
When a whale dies in the ocean their bodies usually sink to the bottom of the ocean, this process is called whale fall. After this, creatures of the deep feast on the carcass and their bodies support entire ecosystems.
According to a study done in 1998 by the University of Hawaii a minimum of 12 490 organisms live off of fallen whale carcasses.
Whale carcasses can also attract predators and emits a terrible smell in the area when they wash ashore. Depending on where the whale ends up it will either be left to decompose or towed away to be disposed of away from residential areas.
Usually as the body decomposes, a build-up of gasses is trapped inside the carcass and this can lead to somewhat of an explosion that is both messy and dangerous. For this reason the body is often moved for safety concerns.
Pictures: Jean Treason