Re: Whale strandings, why? (fwd)

From: Mike Williamson (
Date: Mon May 22 2000 - 07:55:47 EDT

Date: Thu, 11 May 2000 12:36:52 -0400
From: Center for Oceanic Research and Education <>
To: Phil Jones <>
Subject: Re: Whale strandings, why?

Dear Phil,

There are many theories as to why whales beach themselves. Some have been found to do so because they are sick, having an inner ear infection. It is thought that when this occurs to a leader of the pod, the others may follow it to the beach out of sheer "loyalty". Many beachings take place where geomagnetic anomolies occur. In these areas, the earth's magnetic force lines are abnormal, which may confuse whales that use the magnetic force lines for navigation. Beachings have often occured when the tide is at its most extreme and in areas where the beach is gradually sloping.. Because the beach slopes gradually, the sound waves used to detect prey and distance may dissipate and therefore wouldn't bounce back to them, giving an appearance that they are in open water and there is no danger of being stranded. Whales may chase their prey into these shallow waters, unaware that the tide is going to recede quickly, leaving them stranded. Beachings also occasionally occur in these areas during or after severe storms. There is no concrete answer why whales beach themselves. It can be because of one or a number of reasons mentioned above.
There have been numerous attempts to save beached whales. Whether or not they should be saved depends on the condition of the animal and the circumstances (whether there are other healthy animals involved, etc). In the case of sick animals, nature may just be taking its course.
  ----- Original Message -----
  From: Phil Jones
  To: ;
  Sent: Tuesday, May 09, 2000 9:08 PM
  Subject: Whale strandings, why?

  To whom it may concern,
  This is a very frequently asked question! Why do whales beach themselves? There is very little information on the web on this topic. I am doing an essay and the question is: whales are smart animals so why do they end up dying on mass on our beachers? Why does it happen and what can be done to save them, should they be saved?
  Well it would be great to get some information back as soon as possible.
  Toby Jones
  My e-mail is:

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