Subject: Re: whale strandings

KIm Marshall (
Fri, 26 Dec 1997 11:05:10 -0500

Hi Stefan, Thank you for your request via WhaleNet.  There are several
theories as to why whales (dolphins) strand themselves on shorelines.>

 No one really knows why whales strand but with networks managed by the
National Marine Fisheries Service and NOAA we are learning more and more
every day.
Most mass strandings of whales occur with toothed whales that live in pods
with social hierachies.  It is beleived that if the leader of the group
gets sick or disoriented the others simply follow the leader onto the
shore.  Others believe that if there is a illness throughout the group they
will mass strand and die so as not to transfer disease.

Another theory is that their sonar used for navigation may get absorbed by
particulates in the water near areas with a lot of upwelling ie: Cape Cod,
causing them to misinterpret information and basically they end up crashing
on land.

The last, but not least is the theory of the earth's magnetic pull and the
possible affect it may have in certain geographic areas on their ability to

I suggest contacting the NMFS/NOAA office in your area.  Also, there is a
book called Marine Mammals Ashore by Joseph Geraci and Valerie Lounsbury
that discusses what to do with stranded animals in great detail.  You can
order this book from the Sea Grant Program, Texas A&M University, PO Box
1675, Galveston, TX  77553-1675.

I hope this information is helpful.  Good luck!

Hello Kim!
>My name is Stefan Abrahamsson and I=B4m having a project in school about
>whales.It=B4s about why whales sometimes get disoriented and get stranded.
>And I wonder if you could help me?
>I would like to know what kind of theories scientists have about whale
>strandings, and if they have found some evidence for them?.
>I would like to know everything about this subject (why whales get
>stranded)and do you know somebody that could help me?.
>If you have some material about this subject then I would be happy if you
>would send them to me.
>                             Best wishes
>                               Stefan

Kim Marshall-Tilas                              (617) 259-0423
Whale Conservation Institute                   fax: 259-0288
191 Weston Road                                 website:
Lincoln, MA  01773		Are you a member of WCI yet?