Subject: Stranding:El Nino effect suspected in Ch (fwd)

Mike Williamson (pita@www1.wheelock.edu)
Tue, 10 Feb 1998 13:21:30 -0500 (EST)

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---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 10 Feb 98 12:52:00 GMT 
From: r.mallon1@genie.geis.com
To: marmam@uvvm.uvic.ca, pita@whale.simmons.edu
Subject: El Nino effect suspected in Ch

El Nino effect suspected in China whale beachings

    BEIJING, Feb 9 (Reuters) - A warming in water temperatures
as a result of the El Nino effect is suspected as a possible
cause of rare whale beachings in southern China, a fisheries
official said on Monday.
     Fishermen found nine small whales that had run aground on a
beach in the South China Sea island province of Hainan last
week, said an official of the Hainan Aquatic Products Bureau.
     Of the nine whales found near the coastal town of Lindeng on
February 2, three died and the others were pulled back to sea by
fishermen and authorities.
     "Whales are very seldom found along the beach in that
area," the official said by telephone.
     He said marine wildlife experts were still investigating the
cause of the beachings and deaths.
     "It might be connected with an undersea earthquake or the
El Nino phenomenon," he said.
     The El Nino effect, a warming of the Pacific Ocean, has
caused violent storms and hundreds of deaths in South America
and drought conditions in Southeast Asia.
     The Hainan fisheries official described the sea mammals as
"tiger belly" whales in Chinese and said they were small
enough to have been confused with dolphins, as earlier Chinese
state media reports had said.
     "No one dared to use the dead whales for food because
nobody knew why they died," the official added.