A whale has been sighted near the coast in the southern city of Shenzhen for the last two days, delighting locals.
On Tuesday afternoon, Shenzhen residents said they saw a whale close to the coast in the Dapeng district, on the southeastern corner of the city, close to the Dapeng peninsula. A video that circulated online showed seagulls flying around a whale, visible above the water.
Shenzhen Special Zone Daily reported that according to the Shenzhen Maritime Safety Administration, around 4pm on Tuesday, a small whale was spotted near Dapeng Bay; the administration had issued a warning for nearby ships to avoid the mammal.
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Witnesses said the whale swam in this area for an hour and then headed west, towards the sea near Yantian district, the newspaper reported.
On Wednesday, the whale was spotted again, an environmental volunteer said. She watched the whale feeding on fish as she stood on a boat, from a distance.
Chen Mo, a researcher at Guangxi Academy of Sciences who has been observing whales at nearby Weizhou island for more than five years, told Shenzhen Economic Daily he suspects the whale in the video is a common Bryde’s whale, its babies usually are 3.5 to 4 metres long, and adults are up to 11 metres long, weighing 15 to 25 tonnes.
Bryde’s whales are marked by three ridges on the top. Its back is a darker grey, its abdomen is white but sometimes pink. These whales live in the oceans in the tropical and temperate zones. In China, they are commonly seen close to Weizhou island in Beihai, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.
In 2018, the Beihai government issued an ordinance banning fishing within six kilometres of the island to protect the whales.
It is unclear why this whale appeared off the coast of Shenzhen, with some speculating that it may have become lost while chasing fish, while others said it showed diminishing fishing resources offshore.
Local fishing authorities warned people to keep a safe distance from the whale, giving it space to feed and move freely.
Historically, Bryde’s whales have lived and fed in the oceans in east Guangdong province and close to Hong Kong.
This is the second sighting of a whale in the Dapeng area. In 2017, a 12-metre-long sperm whale was entangled in fishing nets near Dapeng. Fishing administration staff and divers cooperated in freeing the whale from the net, but afterwards, it repeatedly swam into shallow water and later died.
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