470 long-finned pilot whales beached, Georgia Aquarium, Dan Mulhall, Southern Orcas, Whale of a Week
Still no cause for mass pilot whale stranding in Australia
The reason for Australia’s biggest mass whale stranding will probably remain a mystery but the social nature of the species involved may have played a part
The reason for Australia’s biggest mass whale stranding will probably remain a mystery but the social nature of the species involved may have played a part, a marine mammal specialist said Saturday.
Officials said 108 of some 470 long-finned pilot whales had been rescued from sandbars at Macquarie Harbour on the island state of Tasmania’s west coast. There are no living whales remaining in the harbor, the Parks and Wildlife Service said.
The pod got into trouble earlier this week, with efforts now turning to the task of disposing 350 carcasses at sea, which the wildlife service said will take a number of days.
David Hocking, a marine mammal scientist at Monash University in Melbourne, said pilot whales form strong family bonds and can travel in groups of up to 1,000.
“If one or a few animals get themselves into trouble, they put out a distress call,” Hocking said. “Rather than running away, their instinct is to come together as a group because they have safety in numbers. But that means a few animals getting into trouble means they call more animals into that same area.”
Long-finned pilot whales are more closely related to dolphins and rely on echolocation, a series of rebounding clicks, to navigate.
Australia’s largest mass stranding had previously been 320 pilot whales near the Western Australia state town of Dunsborough in 1996. Tasmania’s previous largest stranding involved 294 whales on the northwest coast in 1935.
More Belugas Means More Suffering: Tell Georgia Aquarium to Stop Breeding Them
This spring, the Georgia Aquarium was pleased to announce the birth of a beluga calf, but adding to the number of cetaceans suffering in captivity is nothing to celebrate. Instead of the invigorating freedom that wild belugas enjoy, the confined prisoners of Georgia Aquarium experience nothing but crushing boredom and premature deaths. Your voice is needed to urge the Georgia Aquarium to stop breeding cetaceans and phase out cetacean captivity! ACT NOW
Southern Resident Orcas Are Starving to Death
Southern Resident orcas are starving to death due to a lack of their preferred prey, Chinook salmon. About 40% of calves do not survive. Join Oceana today to help protect Southern Resident orcas: https://bit.ly/33zN4rD
Ambassador of Ireland to the United States Dan Mulhall
In the largest known live stranding of northern bottlenose whales ever recorded in Ireland, seven innocent animals tragically died after washing ashore, and the culprit is believed to be ‘acoustic trauma’ usually caused by human activity, according to Sibeal Regan of Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG).
Unfortunately, rescuers are rarely given the resources necessary to humanely euthanize suffering deep-diving species, or to perform full postmortem evaluations to determine the cause of death. This must change — if human activity is to blame, we need stronger protections for whales.
By the time officers reached the distressing scene in County Donegal, it was already too late. And without any way to safely euthanize the whales, emergency personnel could only try to alleviate their suffering as they slowly overheated.
Their heavy bodies can crush their bones, too, without water to support their weight, according to the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) ScienceLine.
Experts suspect that human sonar use causes deep-diving marine mammals to suffer from acoustic trauma, leading to these mass strandings. It is imperative that we determine if human activity is playing a role in whale deaths, and, if so, we must take corrective action to prevent more needless suffering.
Sign this petition urging Ireland Ambassador to the United States Dan Mulhall to push for full postmortem evaluations on all future strandings of deep-diving species, as well as humane euthanization tools for when rescue is not an option.
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