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
Dead whales are washing ashore along the Alaska coast. A second gray whale was found dead Sunday, making it the third whale found in just a few weeks. The carcass was found near Cordova.
Courtesy of globalnews.ca
Washington’s Department of Fish and Wildlife towed a gray whale away from an Everett beach Tuesday evening, so scientists can do a necropsy to find out how it died.
It’s the 13th dead whale in to wash up on Washington state shores this year.
Scientists say the spike in gray whale deaths appears to be tied with malnourishment, but the drastic increase in the number of dead whales has marine biologists stumped.
Along the West Coast, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says there are now 48 dead whales as of Tuesday that have washed up on shore. A normal year is just a few whales per state, per year.
The whale in Everett that washed up near Harborview Park had a stream of visitors on Tuesday. People were captivated by the whale, taking photos, and even touching it.
Courtesy of kiro7.com
Photo By Jeff Chiu, AP
Marine mammal experts are concerned about the death of a gray whale that washed ashore in San Francisco.
The whale found Monday on Ocean Beach was the ninth discovered in the San Francisco Bay Area since March.
The Marine Mammal Center plans a necropsy to determine what killed the animal.
The center says four previous whales died from malnutrition and three were struck by ships. The cause of death for another hasn’t been determined.
But the center says biologists have spotted gray whales in poor condition during this year’s annual migration from Mexico to Alaska. They suspect some are having trouble finding enough to eat as warming ocean conditions cause changes to their food supplies, which can range from krill and small shrimp-like animals to small fish.
Courtesy of eu.usatoday.com
Illustrative Photo / Archive
A third gray whale was found dead on the beach in the town of San Quintín, 190 km south of the city of Ensenada. It is the third dead whale on the beaches of Baja California in the last fourteen days.
Residents of San Quintín declared that the body, in an advanced state of decomposition, was stranded on Friday, April 19, at dawn on the same beach where a gray whale was run aground one year ago.
Elements of the Federal Maritime Terrestrial Zone, the Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection (Profepa) and the environmental group Marine Mammal Research and Conservation of Ensenada (Icmme), just today in the morning they went to the reporting site to collect data from the animal and proceed to his burial on the sandy beach.
He also called the attention of the specialist the large number of injuries present in the body of the young whale product of his continued attempt to stop the parasites, when scrubbing with the rocky seabed.
The oceanologist, Arnulfo Estrada Ramírez, pointed out that, like most baleen whales, gray whales undertake seasonal migrations from the summer and autumn feeding zones to wintering areas in southern latitudes.
Courtesy of debate.com.mx