In late September 2014, a deceased Fin whale washed ashore on Levy’s Beach, Warrnambool in western Victoria.
The Department of Environment and Primary Industries, Parks Victoria and the Cultural Heritage Officer worked together to coordinated the stranding event. The Australian Marine Mammal Conservation Foundation, Museum Victoria and Melbourne Zoo collected important scientific data, samples and the entire specimen will be submitted to the museum collection. It was a fantastic collaborative effort by all.
Fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) are baleen whales that can reach 25m in length. They are the second largest animal on earth with females growing larger than males. Fin whales have a distinctness asymmetrical colouration around the head, the right hand side pale grey-white and the left side is dark slate grey. The front portion on the right hand side of the Fin whale’s baleen is cream, whilst the rest of the baleen is black! Fin whales are listed as ‘endangered’ and we know very little about the species in Victorian waters. Whilst it is always an unfortunate event when an animal washes ashore, it does provide the unique opportunity to extend our current knowledge on the species.