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Originally posted by angelchemuel
reply to post by abecedarian
Can one get a break down of what kind of whales on each of the strandings? It's Pilots that seem to be most accurate. Sorry if this sounds heartless, it is not, it is for this reason I have such feelings for Pilot whales in particular.
Over the past fifteen years, the CSIP has identified a number of significant phenomena in UK stranded cetaceans, including by-catch in porpoises and dolphins, a correlation between infectious disease and high levels of pollutants in porpoises, violent and fatal interactions between bottlenose dolphins and harbour porpoises and, most recently, discovered a decompression sickness-like condition predominantly in deep-diving cetaceans.
t the most controversial theory, one that recent investigations appear to prove, is that anthropogenic, or human-generated noise, may be to blame. For whales, the sense of sound is above all their most important way of reading the underwater world. They navigate, communicate, and hunt by sound. The modern use of military sonar, which unleashes incredibly loud sound into their environment with no preliminary warning, has been shown to cause deep-diving whales, such as pilot whales and beaked whales (the family to which the famous Thames whale belonged), to surface too quickly. In effect, they panic. Seismic surveys for oil exploration – particularly in the North Sea and around Scotland – may have the same effect. As a result, the animals suffer the same syndrome as human divers who resurface too quickly: decompression sickness, or 'the bends'.
Necropsies of pilot whales have revealed them to have suffered tell-tale burst blood vessels.
"Generally, if there is a large whale stranding, there is a military exercise in the area," says Parsons. "Sonar is killing more whales than we know about."
The waters off the West Coast of Scotland and the Inner Hebrides are the Royal Navy’s Scottish Exercise Areas (SXAs), which are routinely patrolled and used for operational sea training and exercises.