Recent whale stranding highlights a mystery that still puzzles marine scientists

A photo released by the New Zealand Department of Conservation on 5 April 2018 shows a pilot whale on the beach in Haast, a city on the west coast of New Zealand’s South Island. AP hide Caption toggle caption AP A photo released by the New Zealand Department of Conservation on April 5, 2018 shows a pilot whale on the beach in Haast, a city on the west coast of New Zealand’s South Island. The Associated Press reported earlier this week that 477 pilot whales died after being stranded along two beaches on one of New Zealand’s larger beaches in the remote Chatham Islands. In less than a month, 230 whales were found stranded on the Australian island of Tasmania, and rescuers were able to rescue dozens of marine mammals. The recent surge in horrific images of whale strandings has caught the world’s attention, highlighting how difficult it is for scientists and conservation experts to prevent such accidents. Stranding occurs worldwide, but researchers aren’t quite sure why whales make their way to the beach. Here’s what you need to know about why whales are stranded and what you can do about it. Scientists don’t know why whale stranding occurs, but they do have some ideas. Experts don’t quite understand why whales are stuck on land, but they do have some theories. Whales, along with dolphins and dolphins, belong to the category of marine mammals known as cetaceans. Dolphins and certain whales travel in groups and both have been stranded in large numbers. Toothed whales, also known as Odontoceti, use echolocation to navigate underwater and communicate with each other. Wildlife scientist at Macquarie University in Sydney, Dr. According to Vanessa Pirotta, some whales can be stranded due to nautical mistakes. She told NPR that the recent stranding on the Chatham Islands could be due to the deep water around the very remote land. A guide whale is seen on the beach along Stewart Island in New Zealand on November 25, 2018. AP hide Caption toggle caption AP A guide whale is seen on the beach along Stewart Island in New Zealand on 25 November 2018. AP “These animals either fished or traversed the water and, unfortunately, came to the beach at sea risk,” said Pirotta. Another explanation that Pirotta calls “misfortune” is that pilot whales are so sociable that they can follow sick whales that end up on the beach. Other reasons for whales stranding are because they run away from predators, are frightened by noise, get injured, or give birth. “The point here is that you don’t want all the animals involved in stranding to be stranded,” said Pirotta. “There is a reason why it happened, but we don’t know why. Attempts to solve it are still a huge mystery in the scientific community.” Whale stranding cannot be prevented, but sometimes animals can be saved. If the whales are still alive by the time they reach the beach, there are several strategies scientists can use to rescue them. As mammals, whales breathe air and can survive on land for a period of time. The reason you might see someone splashing water on a whale on the beach is to cool off as a whale lying in the sun can overheat. Even land-bound whales don’t have the buoyancy they experience when swimming in water, and when trapped ashore, their massive bodies can crush their organs. This is why scientists are attempting to move whales back to the ocean in a process called “resuspending.” However, this strategy also has its pitfalls. According to the International Whaling Commission, whales can suffer internal injuries that can die when they return to sea, or trauma from the re-floating process. Pirotta points out that some whales that have successfully resurfaced may be stranded again. In a recent incident on the Chatham Islands, the lack of a nearby shark and trained medical staff made it impossible to resuscitate, and experts from local rescue group Project Jonah euthanized a whale that survived the initial stranding. Stranding makes the news, but it’s unclear whether it happens more often. Stranding occurs worldwide, but often one or a few animals, rather than hundreds, are washed ashore. According to NOAA Fisheries, there were 7,320 confirmed strandings of cetaceans, sea lions and seals in the United States in 2018. Overall, there have been some high-profile strandings in recent years. This includes the death of 380 pilot whales off the coast of Tasmania in 2020. It is unclear whether fatal events are becoming more frequent worldwide. However, some studies, including a UK report and a Chilean study, have shown an increase in the number of cetacean strandings.
#whale #stranding #highlights #mystery #puzzles #marine #scientists

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *