Malaysia: Malaysian Nature Society concerned over dead Dolphins

Picture of the dead Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphin* found at the Tanjung Bungah beachfront.

By Imran Hilmy, 6th January 2018;

The Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) has questioned why no autopsy was conducted on two Dolphins found dead less than a week apart at the Tanjung Bungah beachfront.

MNS advisor D. Kanda Kumar said Dolphins are not common in Penang waters but have been spotted around the island sometimes.

He said it is quite baffling that the Dolphins were found dead in the same area within the same week

“This might indicate something is wrong with the waters there, we might not know whether the area is contaminated or the Dolphins had plastic waste in their stomachs”, he told The Sun when contacted.

Kanda Kumar said the relevant authorities should come and collect the carcasses for an autopsy.

He said without an autopsy, the cause of death of the mammals will not be known.

“There must be a reason why the Dolphins were found dead in the same area, there could be something wrong with the waters”, he said.

When contacted Penang Department of Fisheries (DOF) director Noraisyah Abu Bakar confirmed that the department had received reports from the public about the dead Dolphins.

She said the mammals are from the common species of dolphins known as Common Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursiops truncatus)*.

She also pointed out the mammal is not endangered, the department is not required to conduct an autopsy on the carcasses.

“Following the standard operating procedure, we did not conduct an autopsy on the mammals as it is not endangered”, she said.

Noraisyah said necessary action had been taken by the department and urge the public to inform the authorities if they discover any dead marine species in their respective areas.

She also called on environmentalist groups and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to work together with the FIR in creating awareness and at the same time protect endangered marine life in Penang waters.

Source: The Sun Daily

*Contrary to the opinion of the Penang Department of Fisheries director, the carcasses look more like Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphins (Sousa chinensis), and have been identified as such by multiple sources in other reports.

Malaysia: Mystery surrounds Dolphin carcasses found on Penang beach

Photo: Jeya Shah Facebook

Photo: Department of Fisheries Malaysia Twitter

By Melissa Darlyne Chow, 5th January 2018;

Residents have been left puzzled after two Dolphin carcasses were washed ashore on a beach in Tanjung Bungah here within a week.

Sonya Shah said the first carcass was found on Dec 29, while the second was found two days ago.

While both Dolphins have since been buried at the beach, Sonya, who lives nearby, expressed her disappointment with the way the situations were handled.

“My mother and I struggled to get help as we called several fisheries, marine rescue teams and wildlife sanctuaries based in Penang and each of them passed the job onto someone else.

“Every one of them gave us different phone numbers to call and their reason for not attending to the incident was that it was ‘not their job’. They even advised us to call SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals),” she said in a Facebook post, adding that it took several hours until a small group of people came to help.

Sonya said she had expected the Dolphins to be taken to laboratories to be examined so that their cause of death could be determined and future deaths could be prevented.

“Evidently, these deaths must have been unnatural and I am no marine biologist but I know that this could have been avoided. Whether they had been poisoned, gotten lost, suffocated, or caught a disease.

“We could have helped and it didn’t need to result in death. They are just as worthy of living as we are,” she said.

Sonya also lamented the actions of beachgoers who had a total disregard and lack of respect for the carcasses.

“People were actually throwing shingles, pebbles and shells at the carcass and when asked not to fiddle with the body, they responded with anger, hostility and impudence,” she said.

Meanwhile, activist Andrew Ng said they had contacted the Fisheries Department concerning the carcasses.

“I personally think that they didn’t do a thorough job. They just measured and buried the body.

“They didn’t determine the cause of death or take any samples from the dolphin for testing,” he told FMT.

Ng said he sent photographs of the carcasses to the Langkawi Dolphin Research Centre, which provided information on the species of the Dolphins.

“The centre said that it is an Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphin (Sousa chinensis), a near threatened species under the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) red list,” he added.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

Malaysia: Two Dolphins found dead in less than a week

Photo: Department of Fisheries Malaysia Twitter

5th January 2017;

A dead Dolphin was washed ashore in Tanjung Bungah, the second within six days.

Environmental activist Andrew Ng Yew Han said the first Dolphin, which was decomposing, was spotted last Friday at the same stretch of beach behind a hotel in Tanjung Bungah while another was found yesterday.

“I’ve asked the fishermen and residents’ association to let me know if there are more sightings of dead Turtles or Dolphins, and I alerted the authorities over the years whenever there are such sightings.

“This is to create more awareness and pressure the authorities to investigate such matters as it is vital to find out their cause of death,” he said.

Senior lecturer Dr Leela Rajamani from the Centre for Marine and Coastal studies of Universiti Sains Ma­­laysia, confirmed that the de­­com­­posing Dolphin was that of an Indo-Pacific Humpback (Sousa chinensis).

She said the humpback species was among the four main species in Penang.

“We see them going around the island and they are commonly sighted in a big group heading north, west and south of the island.

“A post-mortem is needed to identify their cause of death.

“We are looking for funding. A proper lab is needed to do a post-mortem,” she said.

Source: The Star

Malaysia: Two dead Dolphins washed up in Penang in under a week

Photos: Department of Fisheries Malaysia Twitter

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Photos: Pulau Parasit Facebook

By Audrey Dermawan, 4th January 2018;

Two Dolphins have been found dead at the Tanjung Bungah beachfront in less than a week.

The first death was reported on Dec 29 while another death was reported today.

The double deaths have raised concern among environmentalists, who have called for a thorough probe into the incident.

Sahabat Alam Malaysia said the deaths of the mammals should be investigated.

The non-governmental organisation said that the earlier death was reported to the Fisheries Department but the department did not take any follow-up action.

“They just buried it instead of conducting an autopsy.

“We would not know the cause of death unless the department or the Fisheries Research Institute of Malaysia carries out a post-mortem,” said a SAM representative.

The death of the mammals was first posted in the Pulau Parasit Facebook page.

According to the page, the dead dolphins were of the Indo-Pacific Humpback species (Sousa chinensis).

Dolphins are a rare sight in Penang waters, but have been spotted around the island in recent weeks.

A local claimed to have seen several dolphins in the waters off Teluk Bahang on Christmas Eve, while another allegedly spotted a couple of dolphins near the Penang Bridge last Saturday.

Source: New Straits Times

Thailand: Dead Whale and Dolphin washed up on Koh Lanta
Five navy officers were sent to the scene alongside agents from the Rare Sea Animal Division of the Phuket Marine Biological Centre.
By Nattha Thepbamrung & Kritsada Mueanhawong, 14th October 2017;

Sub Lieutenant Nitikorn Chankham from the Royal Thai Navy Area 3 revealed yesterday (October 13) that local fishermen found a dead Whale washed up on Had Nui Beach, in Koh Lanta, Krabi.

Five navy officers were sent to the scene alongside agents from the Rare Sea Animal Division of the Phuket Marine Biological Centre.

The officers presumed that the Whale might have been dead for at least a week as it started to stink and rot. Some parts of its body were already falling off. The whale is approximately 13 metres long. However, they can’t identify what type of whale it is. Near the same area they also found the corpse of a Chinese White Dolphin (Sousa chinensis) that might have died in the sea and washed up ashore as well.

The team collected samples from the Whale and the Dolphin to make further studies.

Source: Phuket Gazette

Photos: Meteor Jogja, Sorot Gunungkidul & Gunungkidul Post

A code 3 baby Sousa (assuming Sousa chinensis) or Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphin was found at Kukup Beach, Kec Tanjungsari, Gunung Kidul, Yogyakarta on 8 October 2016 by a local photographer. The length was reported to be 40 cm, but it’s rather doubtful. No effort has been made so far to retrieve the sample. This might be the first confirmed appearance of Sousa chinensis in the southern coasts of Java. News from Joshua Wendy, photo from MeteorJogja.

Source: Whale Strandings Indonesia Facebook

Photos: Penang Kini Facebook

Malaysia: Another dead Dolphin found in Penang
15th September 2016;

A dead Dolphin washed ashore at the Teluk Bayu beach in Teluk Kumbar, the second such incident in the area within a month.

Beach-goers spotted the carcass, took pictures of it and uploaded them on social media. The images have since gone viral.

The first case occurred last month in which a dead Dolphin, believed to have choked on plastic, was found along the beach off Pulau Jerejak.

It was not clear how the Dolphin in the latest incident had died.

According to Universiti Sains Malaysia marine biologist Dr Aileen Tan, it was common for Turtles to choke on plastic refuse, thinking that these were jellyfish.

Dolphins could also make the same mistake, she said after the first incident.

Sahabat Alam Malaysia president S.M. Mohamed Idris said he was saddened by the incidents because two Dolphins had died in a month.

“It’s time for people to realise that throwing away rubbish haphazardly can cause the deaths of sea creatures.

"We will be starting a major clean-up campaign at polluted beaches in the state soon.

"I urge other NGOs to join us,” he added.

The state Fisheries Department could not be reached for comment.

Source: The Star

The shape of the dorsal fin suggests that is an Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphin (Sousa chinensis).

Sad sight: The carcass of the Dolphin, believed to have died from consuming rubbish, lying on a beach off Pulau Jerejak, Penang.
Photos: Penang Kini Facebook

Malaysia: Dead dolphin may have choked on rubbish
8th August 2016;

A Dolphin carcass believed to have been choked on rubbish has been found along the beach off Pulau Jerejak.

Photographs of the carcass went viral yesterday, causing an uproar among netizens.

One person commented: “It’s sad. Maybe this Dolphin died because it ate plastic floating on the surface, which it thought was food.”

Marine biologist Associate Professor Dr Aileen Tan of Universiti Sains Malaysia said it was common for Turtles to choke on plastic rubbish thinking that they were jellyfish. Dolphins also make the same mistake.

“Now, the beaches are more severely polluted compared to the beaches four years ago.

"The stretch along Pantai Acheh is probably the dirtiest due to the presence of old fishing nets, plastic items and other types of rubbish,” she said yesterday.

However, Dr Tan said the Dolphin should be dissected to confirm the cause of death.

The animal could have died consuming rubbish thrown into the sea by the people, she said.

Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) president S.M. Mohamed Idris said he was shocked by the incident.

“It’s shocking that this is happening here in a state which is promoting a cleaner, greener and safer environment.

"Penangites have a lackadaisical attitude in maintaining cleanliness,” he added.

Source: The Star

The Dolphin carcass being removed by Ramky Cleantech Services workers yesterday. The workers poured disinfectant over the carcass and the surrounding area. They then wrapped it in trash bags and canvas sheets, before lifting it up with a large canvas bag to a lorry which took it to the company’s Loyang office.
Photo: Ng Huiwen

Museum set to examine Dolphin carcass
Lee Kong Chian museum to decide whether to salvage it ‘for science’ after scrutiny by its researchers
By Ng Huiwen, 8th July 2016;

The fate of the Dolphin carcass that washed ashore at East Coast Park on Wednesday remains unclear as of yesterday, as a local museum looks into whether it is suitable for preservation.

The Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum said it hopes to “salvage the specimen for science”, though its researchers will have to examine the carcass further before making a decision.

“It is likely that the Dolphin’s skeleton can be processed, but we don’t know for sure yet,” said the museum’s curator of mammals and birds, Mr Marcus Chua.

He has identified the carcass as belonging to an Indo-Pacific Humpbacked Dolphin (Sousa chinensis), also known as the Pink Dolphin. It is the most commonly sighted dolphin species in Singapore waters.

Sales manager Nigel Lim, 36, was cycling with his wife and two children, aged two and four, at about 11am on Wednesday when he discovered the dead Dolphin on the beach next to Big Splash.

“I happened to park my bicycle by the side and walked to see the beach and boats. It looked like a big floating buoy but upon closer look, it was a carcass,” said Mr Lim, who posted a picture of it on Facebook, before a friend alerted the authorities.

When The Straits Times visited the area yesterday morning, flies were seen swarming around the punctured abdomen of the carcass. It appeared to be badly decomposed, with a portion of its tail skeleton exposed.

A dead Dolphin of the same species was found at East Coast Park by beach-goers in July 2014. The carcass was retrieved and handed over to the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum, though it is unclear if it was preserved.

At East Coast Park yesterday, workers were seen removing the carcass from the beach to a lorry just before noon, about 25 hours after it was first discovered.

Earlier at about 9.45am, a three-member team from the National Parks Board had cordoned off the area around the carcass. They left soon after.

Later, the carcass was removed by workers from Ramky Cleantech Services. Donning face masks and gloves, they were seen pouring disinfectant over the carcass and the surrounding area. They then wrapped it in trash bags and canvas sheets, before lifting it up with a large canvas bag to a lorry.

Ramky site manager Jenny Khng, who oversaw the operation, said the carcass was taken to its Loyang office, as they awaited further instructions from the authorities.

The Straits Times understands that the museum has since taken over the 2m-long carcass, but the museum’s Mr Chua declined to reveal its current location.

Mr Lim, the man who had stumbled upon the carcass, hopes the museum will be able to keep and eventually display the Dolphin specimen. “Then I’ll have more reasons to take my kids there to see it.”

Source: The Straits Times

The skeleton of the Dolphin carcass found in 2014 is currently on display outside the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum Public Gallery, next to the Gift Shop.

  1. Workers from Cleaners Ramky Cleantech Services wrapping up the Dolphin carcass in plastic bags and canvas sheets.
  2. Workers from Cleaners Ramky Cleantech Services putting disinfectant around the Dolphin carcass
  3. A Dolphin carcass that washed ashore along East Coast Park on Wednesday (July 6) was still there on Thursday morning.
  4. Staff from the National Parks Board seen cordoning off the 2m-long carcass on Thursday.

Photos: Ng Huiwen

Fate of Dolphin carcass still unknown more than 12 hours after it was washed ashore on East Coast beach
By Ng Huiwen, 7th July 2016;

The fate of the Dolphin carcass that was washed ashore along East Coast Park on Wednesday afternoon was still unclear by Thursday (July 7) noon.

When The Straits Times visited the beach area near Big Splash at around 8am, flies were seen around the carcass which appeared to be slightly decomposed.

At about 9.45am, a three-member team from the National Parks Board (NParks) cordoned off the 2m-long carcass.

Housewife Therese Stafford, 43, who was walking her dog along the beach at about 8am, said: “I know that there are Dolphins off the coast of Singapore but I’ve always thought they were much further away. It’s unreal to see something like this. And it’s very sad.”

Other beach-goers told The Straits Times that it was their first time seeing a Dolphin carcass on the beach.

It is unclear how the Dolphin carcass got there. It is believed that both the NParks and Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum are aware of it and will decide what to do about it on Thursday.

Just before 11am, workers from Ramky Cleantech Services arrived at the beach to put disinfectant on the carcass.

Said Ramky Cleantech Services site manager Jenny Khng: “We will be putting disinfectant around the carcass to clean up any bacteria, before the authorities decide what to do with it.”

At around noon, the workers were seen moving the carcass from the beach to a lorry. The Straits Times understands that it will be taken to the Ramky office in Loyang.

Source: The Straits Times