A false killer whale that was last week found stranded on a beach in northeastern Taiwan was released into the ocean from a fishing port in Keelung yesterday, following nine days of treatment and rehabilitation.
The Ocean Conservation Administration in a statement hailed the case as a major milestone in the conservation efforts of the Marine Animal Rescue Network.
Over the past 27 years, seven false killer whales have been found alive on the nation’s shores after being stranded, but this one was the first to be released into the ocean after a successful rehabilitation, the agency said.
The 3.2m male false killer whale was found stranded on a beach in Yilan County on Wednesday last week, from where it was sent to a rescue center in Keelung.
The 350kg dolphin could not swim on its own at the time, and veterinarians diagnosed injuries and inflammation, the agency said.
Thanks to veterinarians and volunteers working around the clock to look after it and help it recover, the dolphin could be released, the agency said.
Immediately after it was rescued, it only ate 2kg of fish per day, which later increased to as much as 8kg, the agency said.
False killer whales are listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species. The animals have been observed in oceans worldwide, even though their main habitats are in tropical regions.
In Taiwanese waters, false killer whales have been spotted off Yilan, Hualien, Taitung, Penghu and Pingtung counties, including near Taitung’s Green Island (綠島) and Orchid Island (Lanyu, 蘭嶼).
According to the Taiwan Cetacean Society, mature false killer whales weigh up to 2 tonnes, measure up to 6m and can live up to 60 years.
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