Three whales washed ashore in two days
Three dead whales have been washed ashore at Kokrobite, near Accra, and the beaches near Asanta and Kikam of the Ellembelle District in the Western Region.
One of the whales, measuring between 40 and 60 feet, was found at the Kokrobite Beach in the Ga South municipality. All of them were in various stages of decomposition.
At Kokrobite, the dead whale landed on the beach about 2 p.m. on Sunday, September 1, 2013.
It had part of its skull separated from the rest of the body. The flesh around the head had also come out and was floating in the sea, although it was still attached to the rest of the body.
During a visit to the beach yesterday, the Daily Graphic team was greeted with stench from the decomposing mammal. A large group of people from far and near had also gathered at the see the dead mammal.
While some took pictures beside the mammal, others gathered in groups discussing what they believed was a good omen for the community, since they thought it was going to bring about a bumper harvest of fish.
One of such persons is the Chief Fisherman of Kokrobite, Nii Asase Ayitey, who believed that the washing ashore of the whale onto the beach was going to result in a bumper harvest.
Having fished in the area for the past 50 years, he said, Sunday was the first time he was seeing such a thing in the area.
‘It is a kind of blessing because it is going to lead to bumper harvest. We will perform the necessary customary rites demanded during such events,’ he told the Daily Graphic.
According to Nii Ayitey, the community would want to store the skeleton of the mammal after the flesh had decomposed to serve as a kind of attraction to the community.
‘We want to build a small place and preserve the skeleton,’ he said.
Also at the beach were two fetish priestesses who gave their names only as Kekebi Number One and Kekebi Number Two. They had been informed by the chief fisherman and were at the beach to fashion out the ritual to perform.
The two believed that the dead mammal was a kind of good omen for the community.
‘We will perform customary rites because we know it will bring about a bumper harvest, peace and prosperity to Kokrobite,’ Kekebi Number One said.
She, just like the chief fisherman, had not seen anything like that before in the area.
A bottle of Schnapps, a sheep and white calico would be used to perform the rituals, she said, adding, ‘We also want to store the skeleton because it is not an ordinary thing you are looking at.’
Other residents and fishermen told the Daily Graphic in separate interviews that it was the first time a dead whale had been washed onto the beach.
A fisherman, Alex Ababio, who was assisting a group of other fishermen to hold a rope tied to the dead animal, said once the mammal had landed on the beach, the necessary rites would have to be performed.
‘We are not allowing it to be washed away because once it landed on our beach, we must perform the rites before any other thing,’ he said.
Another fisherman, Isaac Atweresah, said since he was born he had never seen such a thing like that in the area.
‘This is strange,’ he said, and supported the assertion that it would bring about a bumper harvest.
A woman who had come from Kokrobite to the beach, Victoria Kokor Tagoe, expressed shock on seeing the mammal.
From Asanta in the Western Region, Moses Aklorbortu reports that two dead whales were washed ashore.
Fishermen at the beach told the Daily Graphic that the mammals were washed ashore in the early hours of Sunday and Monday.
According to them, they were yet to make a report to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Environmental Health Unit.
The incident was the fifth time that whales had been washed ashore in less than five years.
The fishermen said they suspected that the mammals might have been killed by a huge merchant or supply vessel in the deep sea.
According to them, they would not touch the carcasses until officials of the EPA had inspected them and taken evidence for their investigations.
Speaking to the Daily Graphic, the Chief Fisherman of Asanta, Mr Joseph F. Ebambey, said although they were not aware of the cause of death, the frequency at which whales were washed ashore was a source of worry to them.
Asked what they were going to do with the remains, Mr Ebambey said, ‘As it is now, we want to find out the cause of death of the animals, since this is not the first time. So we will wait for the EPA’s direction before we can volunteer to bury them.’
The Western Regional Director of the EPA, Mr Afriyie Safo, said the incident had come to the notice of the agency and a team would be despatched to the community to take samples of the carcasses for thorough investigations.
By Emmanuel Bonney, Kokrobite & Moses Dotsey Aklorbortu, Asanta
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