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Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Large dead whale cleared from Qatar’s Al Huwaila beach

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Photos courtesy of Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning

A 15-ton dead whale found on Al Huwaila beach in northern Qatar was removed by a government beach cleanup crew earlier this week.

Photographs posted by the Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning (Baladiya) show the 10-meter long whale being lifted by a digger off the beach on Tuesday.

The ministry did not give any details of the type of whale or how they believed the mammal died.

A number of animals have been removed in recent years after washing up on Qatar’s shoreline.

In September, a dead dolphin was removed from Al Wakrah port, while in March, a reader sent Doha News photos of a dead sea lion that remained out in the open for several days outside Al Khor.

And, in 2012, nearly three dozen sheep were found washed up on Qatar’s northern beaches. Unlike the dolphins and sea lion, the sheep were presumed to have died aboard a cargo ship and thrown overboard before the tide carried the carcasses to the beaches.

Littered beaches

The state of Qatar’s shores is an issue of pressing importance, with many residents complaining about heavily littered beaches, especially at holiday times and during weekends.

One of the most popular seaside destinations, Fuwairit beach, appears to have been particularly affected by people failing to take their trash with them.

Under its #WeAllSeeYou cleanliness campaign, Baladiya urges residents to take their trash with them when they use beaches.

But a number of grass-roots organizations have also set up their own beach clean-up drives.

Fuwairat clean-up

Rubbish on Fuwairat Beach
Rubbish on Fuwairat Beach

One of these, Doha Beach Clean Project, has planned a community clean up morning at Fuwairat beach on Friday, Nov. 14, and is looking for volunteers to take part as it attempts to raise awareness of the importance of looking after Qatar’s beaches.

The group is appealing for participants through its Facebook page. Those who need a ride should meet at IKEA to arrange car pooling, or just head straight to the beach for a 9am start.

Organizer Michelle Leck told Doha News that up to 100 volunteers were expected for the family event, which children are also welcome to attend.

Participants should bring rubbish bags, water and hats, but the group can provide gloves.

Turtle impact

Fuwairat beach is a popular breeding ground for Qatar’s carefully tended Hawksbill turtles and during the key breeding season, between April and July, a section of the beach is fenced off in a bid to protect their fragile nesting areas.

Turtles at Fuwairat Beach

However, in an opinion article published on Doha News earlier this year,  Qatar resident Ren Wlasiuk said that often, human impact (strewn rubbish and tire-rutted sand) confuses the turtles, who are desperate to lay their eggs in the same spot where they hatched.

They are carefully monitored by an expert team from Qatar University’s Environmental Studies Center and the Ministry of Environment, with involvement from private sector businesses.

The team has said they would like to see a number of changes to the beach, including keeping up the fencing around the nesting ground throughout the year, and banning vehicles from driving across the sand.

Thoughts?

Note: This article was edited to correctly reflect that the Fuwairat beach clean up takes place on Friday Nov. 14.

13 COMMENTS

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The Reporter
The Reporter
6 years ago

On the evidence of the last beach clearup that I took part I can only assume that every single visitor to the beach left their trash there. Doesn’t this result from a lack of affinity and identification with the place you live?

desertCard
desertCard
6 years ago
Reply to  The Reporter

From my experience its “a lack of affinity and identification with the place you are from”.

KK
KK
6 years ago

Must have been hit by a landcruiser.

thedrizzle96
thedrizzle96
6 years ago

nice to see the beach clean up crew wearing appropriate protective clothing

cuddlefish
cuddlefish
6 years ago

1+ to keep the fence up all year!! At least, this would keep the cars off the beach and limit most beachgoers to the first 100m of the beach. Its such a beautiful place and messed up with tons of trash and ashes every weekend, its disgraceful! Not only for the turtles, but also for the next generations of this country!

Desert Witch
Desert Witch
6 years ago
Reply to  cuddlefish

Went to turtle beach at the end of Eid. We were horrified. There was rubbish food, leftover bits of pergola frames, bbqs the lot. Absolutely disgusting. We had to clear a section for ourselves. We gathered up all our rubbish afterwards and took it to the skip set back off the beach and of course it was empty. Couldn’t believe it.

I do hope the Dept for the Environment step up to the mark here and fence off this area all year round. The turtles need a completely safe and natural environment to survive. Even with the programme successfully releasing hundreds of eggs each season, many baby turtles die at sea and only a very small percentage make it to adulthood.

Oracle
Oracle
6 years ago

That’s it? I mean specially trained garbage collectors dumped that dead whale into a landfill somewhere in the desert and that’s the end of this story?

Did they bother to take some blood samples to understand what actually happened to whale?

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
6 years ago
Reply to  Oracle

Are you suggesting it was murder 😉

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
6 years ago

“The ministry did not give any details of the type of whale or how they believed the mammal died.” I doubt they know either.

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
6 years ago

Someone sent you a picture of a dead sea lion found in Al Khor? Well, unless the exotic pet trade has extended to sea lions, I really don’t see how one can be found in the gulf, let alone Qatar! I don’t think you can find them this far north in the Indian Ocean. A dugong perhaps?

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  Abdulrahman

He was lying next to a dead penguin and kangaroo.

sicti
sicti
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

All three of them killed by a polar bear

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
6 years ago
Reply to  sicti

Who in turn was hunted down by a mammoth riding cave man :p

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