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Regional News of Monday, 5 April 2021

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Over 80 melon-whales, others washed ashore at Axim-Bewire

Some mammals believed to be melon-headed whales, numbering over 80, have washed ashore at the Axim-Bewire beach in the Nzema East Municipality yesterday, Sunday, April 4, 2021.

According to a report on citinewsroom.com, Alhassan Arafat Salifu, the Western Regional Acting Director of the Fisheries Commission, explained that he is unable to tell the cause of the incident.

He added that from what he knows, while most of the mammals that were washed to the shore were found dead, a few of them were alive.

“We are now counting to know the actual numbers that were washed ashore since they are in different parts of the beach. Some are still struggling to breathe and some are dead,” he explained.

He also reacted to concerns that some residents had already taken several of the dead mammals, stating that his outfit will conduct further investigations into the matter to ascertain its veracity.

“This is the information we have also picked up, but we don’t know where those who picked some of the mammals have taken them to. So, until we are able to do further investigation, we will not know where they have been taken to,” he said.

In the meantime, the mammals that were alive have since returned to their abode in the sea, the report said.

According to Friends of the Nation, a socio-environmental NGO, the mammals belong to the small-to-medium-sized toothed whale of the oceanic dolphin family.

Solomon Kusi Ampofo, who is the Programme Officer of the NGO, explained the cause of the sudden appearance of the mammals at the shore in their large numbers, to three things, including pollution.

“It is possible they were caught in tuna purse seine nets, or underwater noise due to seismic survey interrupting their normal behaviour and driving them away from areas important to their survival, such as feeding and breeding grounds.

“Pollution from heavy metal and man-made chemical concentrations can also cause that,” he explained.

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