Short Communication

Pygmy right whale Caperea marginata records from Namibia

  • RH Leeney
  • K Post
  • PB Best
  • CJ Hazevoet


All known records of pygmy right whales Caperea marginata in Namibia since 1978 are summarised for the first time, including 12 strandings (live and recently dead animals) and skeletal remains from at least eight more individuals. The majority of strandings and remains were located in the Walvis Bay region, where the coastal topography of the bay and lagoon may be a primary cause for the relatively high incidence of strandings in this area. Strandings appear to occur only during the austral summer, between November and March. All but two of the records for which age is available were juveniles, suggesting that the area offshore of Walvis Bay may function as a seasonal nursery ground and that the inexperience of younger animals may cause them to become ‘entrapped’ in the bay. These data contribute substantially to the limited information on pygmy right whale distribution worldwide and the cetacean fauna of Namibia.

Keywords: Benguela Current, strandings, Walvis Bay

African Journal of Marine Science 2013, 35(1): 133–139

Author Biographies

RH Leeney
Namibian Dolphin Project, c/o Namibia Nature Foundation, 44–46 Frans-Indongo Street, Windhoek, Namibia; Benguela Research and Training, PO Box 786, Walvis Bay, Namibia
K Post
Natural History Museum, Westzeedijk 345, 3015 AA, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
PB Best
Mammal Research Institute, University of Pretoria, c/o Iziko South African Museum, PO Box 61, Cape Town 8000, South Africa
CJ Hazevoet
Instituto de Investigação Científica Tropical, Unidade de Zoologia, Rua da Junqueira, nº 14, 1300-343, Lisbon, Portugal

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1814-2338
print ISSN: 1814-232X