KOTA KINABALU: A pygmy killer whale, Feresa attenuate, was found stranded on Tanjung Aru beach yesterday morning.
The mammal was discovered on the beach during low tide by a security personnel from Shangri-La’s Tanjung Aru Resort and Spa at 7am.
He immediately carried the mammal back to the water and monitored it while staff at the resort notified WWF-Malaysia, which in turn asked the Sabah Fisheries Department, Sabah Wildlife Department and Dr Lindsay Porter from St. Andrew’s University’s Sea Mammal Research Unit to assist in rescuing the whale.
Although the mammal bore no visible injuries, its health status was unclear as it appeared weak and listless.
The pygmy killer whale was later moved to the resort’s enclosed sea lagoon to protect it from boats and fishermen until it could be released back to the wild.
A volunteer team from Land, Empowerment, Animal, People (L.E.A.P.) has been formed to monitor and feed the whale.
WWF-Malaysia marine conservation chief Ken Kassem said the appearance of the rare mammal is very exciting as it shows the importance of Sabah waters to marine life and biodiversity.
“We sincerely hope that this particular animal will recover soon and live a long and healthy life,” he said.
The resort will continue to provide assistance to WWF and L.E.A.P while the animal remains at the lagoon.