A whale calf that had been stranded in waters near the capital was found dead on Wednesday by the Salamis Coast Guard on the eastern side of the island.
The Coast Guard vessel, in co-operation with the civil leadership of the Environment and Energy Ministry, had been patrolling the waters around the island to observe and assist the young Cuvier’s beaked whale, or Ziphius cavirostris, before it was found dead.
A team of veterinarians from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and other experts have been mobilized to determine the cause of death.
“We knew from the clinical exams and the blood tests conducted that it was not going to be easy, but we did everything in our power to save the whale,” said Deputy Environment and Energy Minister Giorgos Amyras.
However, the director of the “Archipelagos” Institute of Marine Conservation Theodoris Tsimpidis told Kathimerini that there was a high level of mismanagement and criticized what he perceived as “opportunistic” sensitivity and a lack of resources and training on these issues.
“We have a presence across the Aegean, a network of experts with specialized equipment,” he said and decried the fact that there were many international experts affiliated with his organization that were on standby and were never called to attend.
“They sent students to give the whale shots, like the ones given to poodles and gave a 2,5 ton animal a mere 1 liter of medication. You should not disturb the animal, you should not push the divers away to be included the photographer’s shot, you should not prod it and sing to it, and most importantly you should not just push it out to sea to see if it can swim,” he said.
He called the animal’s death a sad confirmation of the lack of a state response mechanism, the dearth of information, and the complete absence of infrastructure to treat marine mammals.