Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Did Human Noise Pollution Drive 150 Whales To Beach Themselves in Australia?

By Laura Geggel, Senior Writer | March 23, 2018 09:20am ET

A commercial fisherman in Australia spotted an alarming site this morning: Upward of 100 whales were stranded and dying on a beach at Hamelin Bay, about 180 miles (300 kilometers) south of Perth. (And we're all pulling for a happy ending.) 

Rescuers rushed to the scene, but only 15 of the 150 whales, thought to be short-finned pilot whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus), were still alive as of 12 p.m. local time, the Western Australia Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions reported.

The 15 still-breathing whales were in shallow waters, and rescuers planned to herd them into deeper water by late afternoon, said incident controller Jeremy Chick. [Whale Album: Giants of the Deep]

"Unfortunately, most of the whales beached themselves on dry land overnight and have not survived," Chick said in a statement. "There are only 15 surviving in shallow waters, and we hope to move them out to sea later today."

To make matters worse, windy and rainy weather has made the rescue challenging, he said.

"Rescue operations will be hampered by deteriorating weather conditions, and we need to ensure the safety of everyone involved before we move the whales," Chick said.

It's unclear why the whales became stranded in this case, but large groups of short-finned pilot whales have become stranded before. It's thought that the species is vulnerable to loud, human-made sounds, such as those made by navy sonar, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Researchers have yet to show a conclusive cause-and-effect relationship between noise pollution and beached G. macrorhynchus whales, but other mass-stranding events involving this species have happened during times of high human-made noise in the environment, according a 2006 report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

No comments:

Post a Comment

You only need to enter your comment once! Comments will appear once they have been moderated. This is so as to stop the would-be comedian who has been spamming the comments here with inane and often offensive remarks. You know who you are!

Related Posts with Thumbnails