The body of a whale grounded earlier in Hong Kong is being handled jointly by City University of Hong Kong (CityU) and Ocean Park Conservation Foundation Hong Kong (OPCFHK).
CityU’s cross-disciplinary research team will consider the possibility of making a specimen of it for scientific studies and teaching.
Experts at CityU’s School of Veterinary Medicine (SVM) actively assist local and international veterinary medical cases. After hearing that help was required, CityU immediately contacted the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department of the HKSAR Government about assisting in the handling of the 11-metre whale carcass found earlier at a beach in Hung Shek Mun, Tai Po. The CityU team was dispatched to conduct an inspection.
Dr Howard Wong Kai-hay, Executive Director of CityU’s Life Sciences Programmes, said it was rare for a whale to ground on a local shore. The body of the whale is particularly important for scientific studies and teaching because of its record length.
CityU decided to take part in handling the dead body, aiming to foster local citizens’ knowledge in related discipline through veterinary medical studies. However, the huge size of the carcass, and the wounds on the body, means that CityU’s research team would need time to consider all factors in treating the body, according to Dr Wong.
CityU will work closely with OPCFHK to perform related studies. OPCFHK’s Cetacean Stranding Response Team will send the whale’s skin tissues to the US and Japan for DNA testing in order to verify the species.
CityU’s SVM fosters the social development of Hong Kong. Since its establishment, members of the general public in Hong Kong have filed several enquiries about various issues such as the SVM’s curriculum and treatment for animals. In response, CityU’s veterinary medicine team has offered professional advice and assistance.