1. Rare species: Residents crowd around a Whale Shark caught in a trawl in Selakau waters, Sambas regency, West Kalimantan, on Friday.
  2. Playground: Children sit on the back of a Whale Shark caught in a trawl in Selakau waters, Sambas regency, West Kalimantan, on Friday.

Indonesia: Whale shark dead after being caught up in trawl
By Severianus Endi, 26th February 2017;

A 6-meter Whale Shark (Rhincodon typus) weighing more than 1 ton got caught in the trawl of a fisherman in Selakau waters, Sambas regency, West Kalimantan, on Friday. Residents later cut the protected animal up and distributed the pieces.

Officers from Selakau Police and the Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) questioned the fisherman, identified as Gustian, over the incident. He said the animal had accidentally become caught up in a trawl he had put out in waters around 20 kilometers off the shore. When he had discovered the shark in the net, Gustian claimed, it had already been dead.

Gustian, who had been out fishing with his son that day, said they had been unable to release the Whale Shark from the trawl, so he decided to pull it to the pier.

Gustian said he was not aware that Whale Sharks were a protected species. He said he did not know who had ordered the local residents to cut the Shark into pieces and take them home.

Pictures of the Whale Shark went viral on social media, showing local residents, including children, crowded around the carcass of the animal on Selakau Beach.

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Indonesia’s West Kalimantan program manager, Albert Tjiu, told The Jakarta Post on Sunday there had been no clear information on whether Selakau waters were the habitat of Whale Sharks. However, he said, a WWF researcher conducting a survey in the area had heard of a similar incident last year.

Source: Jakarta Post

Photos: Berita Lima, Suara Pemred, Tribun Pontianak [1], [2], Liputan 6

A code 2 (fresh dead) baby Bryde’s Whale (Balaenoptera edeni) was found at Kubu Raya West Kalimantan today. The approximate length is 6 m. So far, no news of necropsy has been done, and it seems the baby Whale has been refloated back to sea… First news from Rodney Westerlaken from the Sea Turtle WhatsApp group.

Source: Whale Strandings Indonesia Facebook

The taxonomy of the Bryde’s Whale is still far from settled; what we call the Bryde’s Whale has been split into two subspecies or even distinct species by some authorities: the true Bryde’s Whale, a larger species found in tropical and warm temperate waters worldwide (Balaenoptera brydei), and the Sittang or Eden’s Whale, a smaller form that may be restricted to coastal waters of the Indo-Pacific (Balaenoptera edeni). Both species(?) have been recorded from tropical waters of Southeast Asia.

A 96 cm length, code 4 Finless Porpoise (Neophocaena phocaenoides) was found at Paloh Beach, West Kalimantan today (9 October 2016). News by Dwi Suprapti WWF Indonesia. Paloh and adjacent coasts of West Kalimantan have resident populations of Finless Porpoise; bycatch is their main anthropogenic threat.

Source: Whale Strandings Indonesia Facebook

Photos: Eris Riswandi Facebook

Indonesia: Man hunted for killing Sun Bear
3rd September 2016;

The authorities are hunting a resident of Sambas, West Kalimantan, following a recent post on Facebook showing a picture of a Sun Bear (Helarctos malayanus), an endangered species, with its throat cut.

The photo had a caption that read, “Who will buy this animal?”

Previously, on Aug. 12, the same Facebook account also hosted a picture of a man carrying the dead body of a Sun Bear with a caption that read, “It is fortunate to have caught a Sun Bear in the early morning.”

West Kalimantan’s Natural Resources Conservation Agency head Sustyo Iriono said the picture was allegedly taken in Bintulu, Sarawak, Malaysia. However, the man who posted the picture is reportedly from Sei Nilam village, Jawai district, in Sambas regency.

The agency investigating the case found the Facebook account reportedly belonged to a man identified as Joko, using the pseudonym Rosi Kuale.

“The team has visited Joko’s parents’ house in Sambas. His parents had no idea about the Facebook posts,” Sustyo said, adding he had reported the finding to the Environment and Forestry Ministry.

Source: Jakarta Post

Yet another Finless Porpoise (Neophocaena phocaenoides) stranded in Kalimantan, this time at the Tanjung Keluang Nature Tourism Reserve, Central Kalimantan, 5 days ago (25 Aug’16). No sample has been taken on this one. This is a different stranding from the one at Mempawah, West Kalimantan (see previous post). News from Dwi Suprapti WWF Indonesia.

Source: Whale Strandings Indonesia Facebook

Another Finless Porpoise (Neophocaena phocaenoides) (code 4) was also found at Mempawah, West Kalimantan on 29 August 2016. Sample is currently being obtained by BPSPL Pontianak. Photo from Raja Fajar. News from Dwi Suprapti WWF Indonesia.

Source: Whale Strandings Indonesia Facebook

Photos: Tribun Pontianak, BPSPL Pontianak, Pontianak Post, Chai Jie Fung Facebook

Apologies for the slow updates. A code 4 whale of 4 m length was found at Sungai Batang (Kec. Sungai Pinyuh, Kab. Mempawah, West Kalimantan) 3 weeks ago, but we just received the update today from a local newspaper Tribun News Pontianak. It looks like a baleen whale (Mysticeti), but the condition has deteriorated so much now that ID is a bit difficult. Samples are currently being obtained by BPSPL Pontianak. News from Dwi Suprapti, WWF Indonesia.

Source: Whale Strandings Indonesia Facebook

Photos: Rare Aquatic Species of Indonesia Facebook

Indonesia: Beached creature ‘Whale, not Dolphin’
By N. Adri, 15th July 2016;

A team dispatched by the Rare Aquatic Species Indonesia (RASI) Conservation Foundation has confirmed that a sea creature found dead on Mangempang Beach in Muara Badak district, East Kalimantan, last week was not an Irrawaddy Dolphin (Orcaella brevirostris), or pesut, as previously reported. “It was a Dwarf Sperm Whale, also known as Kogia sima,” RASI researcher Danielle Kreb told journalists on Thursday.

After a thorough examination, the RASI researcher team was certain that the female Dwarf Sperm Whale was attacked and killed by a Cookiecutter Shark (Isistius brasiliensis), also known as a Cigar Shark. Although it is relatively small, only around 60 centimeters in length, the shark has extremely sharp teeth.

“Old wounds on the Whale’s body showed it was probably attacked by a Shark. The Whale came to the surface of the sea because of its severe wounds before becoming stranded on Mangempang Beach,” said Kreb.

She further explained that Dwarf Sperm Whales lived in deep-sea waters and ate squid, octopus and cuttlefish. It is quite difficult to find a Dwarf Sperm Whale because of its silent movement, she added.

“Most research reports on Dwarf Sperm Whales are obtained from beached whales like what we’ve seen here,” said Kreb.

As reported earlier, a pregnant cetacean initially identified as an Irrawaddy Dolphin was found dead on Mangempang Beach, Muara Badak district, Kutai Kartanegara. Muara Badak resident Saidah reported the beached Dolphin, which finally turned out to be a Dwarf Sperm Whale, to the Indonesian Navy post in Marangkayu on July 7.

“We later removed it to our post for a further examination,” said the post’s commander, Second Lieut. Karel Setiawan. Several old wounds, initially suspected to be caused by the propellers of boats plying the Pangempang River, one of the Mahakam River’s tributaries, were found on the animal.

Kreb said the conservation status of Dwarf Sperm Whales in Indonesia could not be determined given the lack of information on the species. However, mammal researchers agree that Dwarf Sperm Whales live in almost all open waters across the world. They can be found in the northernmost waters of Japan to the southernmost ocean of Australia.

Source: Jakarta Post

Photos: Septy Adji, shared to Save The Mahakam Dolphin Facebook Group

Indonesia: 2 Irrawaddy Dolphins die in East Kalimantan
By N. Adri, 14th July 2016;

Conservation activists are calling for a more concerted effort to protect the habitat of Irrawaddy Dolphins (Orcaella brevirostris), or pesut, in Mahakam River in East Kalimantan after two of the protected species were found dead, thought to be as a result of widespread environmental problems.

Save Mahakam Pesut Community activist Innal Rahman said the Mahakam pesut was a protected species as it was critically endangered. The population of Mahakam pesut now numbers only 87 individual animals, down from 96 recorded last year.

The first Dolphin was found dead in Kutai Kartanegara regency on July 3. It was suspected that the female Dolphin died four days before it was found by local residents traveling on the river.

“We saw it stranded near a coal stockpile of coal company PT Morris,” said Rahman, who spotted the Dolphin at the location. At 233 centimeters in length and a body circumference of 128 cm, it is believed the Dolphin was fully mature.

On July 7 a pregnant Dolphin (Actually, it was a Dwarf Sperm Whale) was found dead on nearby Mangempang Beach. Muara Badak resident, Saidah, reported the beached Dolphin to the Navy.

“We later removed it to our post for a further examination,” said the post’s commander Second Lieut. Karel Setiawan. Several old wounds, possibly caused by the propellers of boats using the Pangempang River, one of the Mahakam River’s tributaries, were found on the Dolphin’s body.

There are human settlements, coal stockpiles and oil palm plantations built along the Mahakam River and its tributaries. “Dolphins are a sensitive species. Noise caused by boat engines cause them to lose direction, disrupting their efforts in foraging for food,” said Danielle Kreb, a researcher at the Rare Aquatic Species Indonesia Conservation Foundation in Samarinda.

Source: Jakarta Post

The carcass found on July 7 was actually a Dwarf Sperm Whale (Kogia sima).

After the earlier news about a presumed stranded Irrawaddy Dolphin (Orcaella brevirostris) and its unborn foetus on Panempang beach, Mahakam delta, Mas Buono (RASI) together with Septy Adji n Innal Rahman (Save Mahakam), Ricky (BPSPl satker) Balikpapan went to the location on 11 July to re-check the Dolphin species and tried to get a better idea as to the cause of death and collect a sample. After discussion with local residents, the cause of death was determined to be likely due to serious wounds inflicted by Cookiecutter Sharks (Isistius brasiliensis). Also based on the pictures the species was re-identified as a Dwarf Sperm Whale (Kogia sima). This species usually inhabits deep water where its main prey are cephalopods. The reason for being in the shallow delta was likely due to the fact that the animal was wounded.

Source: Rare Aquatic Species of Indonesia Facebook

The previous post (9 July) on the stranding at Pangempang Beach, Mahakam River, East Kalimantan needs to be revised. The species is now positively identified as Dwarf Sperm Whale with the Cookiecutter Shark bite as the possible circumstances of death. The Kogia was pregnant (calf photo inserted) Field team consisted of RASI, Save the Mahakam Dolphin and BPSPL Satker Balikpapan. News and photos: Danielle Kreb.

Source: Whale Strandings Indonesia Facebook