On 23 April 2013, a local bonefish guide stumbled upon a rare sight while on the shallow flats of Bimini: a beaked whale. Beaked whales are deep water animals and in all of DCP’s years on Bimini, a beaked whale has never been observed here. In the years since DCP’s Kel Sweeting became part of the Bahamas Marine Mammal Stranding Network (2008), there has not been a marine mammal stranding here either. In fact, this may have been the first marine mammal stranding on Bimini in many, many years.
The animal was first observed alive. A great group of volunteers rallied together to try to get this amazing creature into deeper water. Sadly, during these attempts, the whale died. It was not the outcome any of us had hoped for, but we gathered our thoughts, got some great advice and brought the whale to the beach for a basic field necropsy.
You can see Kel’s stranding report by clicking here. Please note, there are images of the necropsy, but also a beautiful photo of the animal while it was still alive.
A heartfelt thank you goes to The Bahamas Marine Mammal Research Organisation for putting the stranding network together back in 2008, for providing Bimini with its very own stranding response kit and for guidance during last week’s event. And thank you to Dr. Ruth Ewing who took time from her busy day to give much needed necropsy pointers to Kel.