Sperm whale strandings

Richard Harrington By: Richard Harrington
Date posted: 11 February 2016

Sperm whale strandings Six male sperm whales have died on the coast of Norfolk and Lincolnshire recently.

Sperm whale strandings Six male sperm whales have died on the coast of Norfolk and Lincolnshire recently. While the situation is very tragic and upsetting, so far there is nothing to suggest that this is part of anything other than a natural (though very tragic) event. The six whales that have washed up dead on the Linconshire and Norfolk coast add to 24 other strandings in the North Sea region, mostly on the German and Dutch coast. The North Sea, especially the southern section is relatively shallow in oceanic terms, and this could have contributed to their disorientation - they are creatures of the deep sea, using sound to communicate and navigate over long distances and at great depth. The whales are all male, and male sperm whales between the age of about seven and twenty-seven are known to forage widely in bachelor groups. There have been suggestions in some media that human activities are implicated in the strandings. Noises from many sources, including ships and wind turbines, are known to affect various cetaceans, for example. Some types of specialised sonar used by military vessels have been implicated in strandings of small cetaceans. The health of whales is affected by various substances, like heavy metals and persistent organic pollutants. Tissue samples have been taken by scientists from the Cetacean Strandings Information Programme, which will reveal information about the health of the animals before they died. However, it is unlikely that a cause of the strandings will become any clearer than with similar events in previous decades and centuries. What to do if you come across a stranded marine animal Follow the guidance from the Cetacean Strandings Information Programme

Actions you can take


Join us today

Help protect our seas, shores and wildlife

Join now