Two yubarta whales died in less than 24 hours on the coast of the Brazilian city of Salvador, capital of the northeastern state of Bahia and whose coasts are visited at this time of the year by the giant mammals to reproduce.
A whale of the Yubarta species almost 15 meters long and 39 tons in weight died after running aground on a beach in the Coutos neighborhood , on the outskirts of Salvador.
Although the giant animal was found alive early in the day, it died a few hours later despite the efforts of several inhabitants of the area who did not stop bathing it with water to keep it alive.
Another of these gigantic mammals – also known as humpback whales – also died stranded on a nearby beach , just eight kilometers away.
Experts of the Ballena Yubarta Institute, an entity that has been accompanying the visit of mammals to the coast of Bahia for 30 years and analyzing the causes of the death of aquatic mammals, told local media that the presence of animals in the region is common at this time of year.
Between July and November the whales leave the cold Antarctica in search of warmer waters to reproduce. During the breeding season, some 20,000 whales pass along the coast of the state of Bahia.
However, this year the giant mammals have also approached other coastlines of the country, such as those in the states of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, where their presence has been recorded in photos and videos by surprised bathers.
Courtesy of lasexta.com
KARI PLAS VIA AP
FIVE WHALES DIED Thursday after a mass stranding on a beach on the Hawaiian island of Maui.
Ten melon-headed whales were discovered stranded alive Thursday morning on Sugar Beach in the coastal community of Kihei and a calf believed to be part of the social group was found dead hours later about a mile away, David Schofield, the regional marine mammal response coordinator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, told the Associated Press.
Veterinarians with NOAA determined that four of the stranded whales were in too poor of a condition to be saved, Jeffrey Walters, NOAA’s wildlife management and conservation branch, said in a statement.
The whales were sedated and euthanized to relieve their suffering, Walters said, according to AP.
The remaining six whales were floated back into the ocean but became stranded again. Schofield said NOAA personnel believed two more of the whales were at risk of dying but eventually made it back out into the sea. One or two of the whales is likely debilitated, he added.
Officials planned to monitor the area Friday in case the whales returned, AP reported.
“The last time we saw them they seemed to be moving in a healthy manner to deeper waters. So it’s our hope that they got their bearings about them and were able to head out to sea,” Schofield said.
Some objected to the way officials handled the situation. Kealoha Pisciotta, a Native Hawaiian cultural practitioner, protested against the euthanization of the four whales. She said melon-headed whales are a manifestation of the sea god Kanaloa.
Pisciotta and other volunteers wanted to hold the whales in the water so they could swim away or die dignified deaths, but she said NOAA officials would not let her near the animals.
Walters said that personnel worked with cultural practitioners at the scene and prayed before and after the whales were euthanized. Cultural practitioners performed a death rite for the animals, AP reported. but did not agree to euthanizing the whales.
Courtesy of usnews.com
Some 20 pilot whales have died stranded in mysterious circumstances on the south-western coast of Iceland, emergency services said Saturday, only two weeks after a similarly unexplained mass stranding had already killed dozens of the long-finned cetaceans.
The dead whales, part of a group of 50 stranded whales, were discovered late Friday near Gardur, some 50 kilometres (31 miles) from the capital Reykjavik.
According to Icelandic media, locals began rescue efforts to save the whales even before emergency teams arrived.
“Around 90 volunteers worked all night to keep the animals wet,” David Mar Bjarnason, a spokesman for the Icelandic research and rescue association, told AFP.
By 08H00 GMT the last of the surviving whales were back in deep water.
“We had to wait for high tide to get them back into the sea,” Bjarnason said.
Pilot whales are relatively plentiful, with their stock in the Atlantic estimated at between 500,000 and 800,000 animals.
Last month 52 dead stranded whales were spotted on a remote beach in the west of the north Atlantic island nation.
Pilot whales, which belong to the dolphin family and feed primarily on squid, can sometimes get stuck if they follow their prey into shallow coastal waters.
But scientists are mystified as to why such large numbers should get stranded at the same time.
Some theories mention magnetic field interference, while others say that a pod of pilot whales will always follow a single leader — even if that dominant whale leads them into mortal danger.
Courtesy of france24.com
David Schwarzhans, the pilot of the sightseeing helicopter, took images of the whales
Dozens of dead beached whales have been spotted by sightseers during a helicopter flight over western Iceland.
The dead pilot whales were photographed during the trip on Thursday over a beach at Longufjorur.
It’s unclear how the mammals became beached. The region where they were spotted is secluded, inaccessible by car and has very few visitors.
Police in the nearby town of Stykkisholmur have been made aware of the discovery, local media say.
The images were taken by helicopter pilot David Schwarzhans.
He told the BBC: “We were flying northbound over the beach and then we saw them. We were circling over it not sure if it was whales, seals or dolphins. We landed and counted about 60 but there must have been more because there were fins sticking out of the sand.
“It was tragic and when we stood downwind it was smelly. It wasn’t something nice to see and quite shocking since there were so many”.
Courtesy of bbc.co.uk
JUSTIN SULLIVAN/GETTY IMAGES
SEVEN GRAY WHALES WERE found dead in Alaska over the weekend in the latest development in what the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration declared an “unusual mortality event.”
NOAA says gray whales have been dying at an unusually high rate in an area stretching from Alaska to Mexico. The agency’s latest numbers say 171 gray whales have died this year in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico. That tally does not include the seven whales recently found in Alaska.
NOAA in May declared the deaths an unusual mortality event, defined as a “stranding event that is unexpected, involved a significant die-off of any marine mammal population, and demands an immediate response.”
The agency is investigating the deaths, and examinations conducted on some of the dead whales suggest that they died of starvation, though NOAA said the findings were not consistent across all the mammals examined.
Gray whales migrate in the summer from warm waters near Mexico to the Arctic, where they feed.
Julie Speegle, an NOAA spokeswoman, told CNN scientists think the whales’ food source may have been disrupted because of a lack of Arctic sea ice last summer.
Gray whales were on the endangered species list until 1994 but now number about 27,000 in the North Pacific. The species previously experienced an unusual mortality event in 1999 and 2000.
Courtesy of usnews.com
A sixth dead North Atlantic right whale has been discovered in the Gulf of St. Lawrence this year, Fisheries and Oceans Canada said Thursday evening, hours after announcing heightened protective measures for the endangered species.
It’s the fourth whale carcass discovered in the past 48 hours. The sixth whale, which has yet to be identified, was found drifting off Quebec’s Gaspé Peninsula during an aerial surveillance flight.
“We are currently assessing the recovery and necropsy options,” the federal agency said in a statement.
The latest discovery came less than a day after the fifth whale was discovered along Anticosti Island in Quebec.
Courtesy of cbc.ca
Jeff Chiu/Associated Press
Tourists come here from around the world to watch whales. It’s common to see humpbacks leaping out of the water and fin whales slapping the waves with their flukes. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch a gray whale poking its head out of the water to scope out the surroundings. And if you’re really lucky, you’ll see a blue whale — at up to 165 tons, the largest animal on earth.
But all is not well here this year. Gray whales are dying in large numbers. Since January, at least 167 North Pacific gray whales have washed ashore dead from Mexico to Alaska. That’s probably just a fraction of the number that have actually died. Most will have sunk to the sea floor; scientists call these carcasses “whale falls.” But the number of known deaths is high enough that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has declared an “unusual mortality event” — a pronouncement that has sent scientists scrambling to figure out what’s going on.
Events like this are often the first warning sign that something may be seriously amiss below the waves. Particularly striking is that many of the whales washed ashore have been emaciated.
Courtesy of nytimes.com
2 more dead gray #whales have been found in #Alaska, bringing the year’s toll to 75 along west coast of #USA
Two more gray whales were found dead this week in Alaska amid the mysterious surge of deaths within the species this year along the US West Coast, CNN affiliate KTUU reports.
That makes seven in Alaska and at least 75 total, in what the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration calls an “unusual mortality event,” the station reports.
Two more were discovered this week off Washington state.
Last month, ocean scientists said they were worried about the death rate, the highest in almost two decades. Some of the mammals were underweight, which may mean they could not find enough food in the water, a possible result of climate change, NOAA spokesman Michael Milstein said.
In all of last year, 45 gray whales were found onshore, NOAA said.
Gray whales do most of their eating during summers in the Arctic and migrate to spend half the year in Mexico.
They can reach 90,000 pounds. The species was endangered until 1994.
Courtesy of edition.cnn.com
A fifth grey whale has been found dead on British Columbia’s coast in what one research biologist says could be a trend towards of record-setting deaths even as the species does “well” overall.
John Calambokidis of the Cascadia Research Collective based in Olympia, Wash., said Tuesday that 23 grey whales have been found dead this year in his state, and the dead greys are all found along the same migratory route. He said he isn’t involved in studying the whales found dead in Canada.
Those deaths bring the total number of carcasses found along the migration route from California to Alaska up to 70, according to figures from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA.
Courtesy of bc.ctvnews.ca