What causes whale mass strandings?

15 February 2017

Around 600 pilot whales recently became stranded on a New Zealand beach, around 400 of which died before volunteers could refloat them back into the sea. Sadly, this kind of mass whale stranding has occurred since human records began, and happens somewhere in the world on a regular basis.

At the end of 2015, 337 sei whales died in a fjord in Chile after the largest ever beaching of whales of this species. Mass strandings can also occur in northern Europe. In February 2016, 29 sperm whales were found stranded on the coasts of Germany, the Netherlands, eastern England, and northern France, a record for this species in the North Sea.

Why do these creatures, which are masters of living in a totally aquatic environment, enter an inhospitable land environment where inevitably some, if not all, will die?

Read the full article on The Conversation.

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Peter Evans, 2017, What causes whale mass strandings?, The Conversation, viewed 24 March 2017, <http://apo.org.au/node/74619>.

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