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Six days after mysteriously swimming into the Naples Bay, 25 pilot whales are dead and it's up to these marine biologists to find out why. "The animals did appear thin, there were no external signs of human interaction that we could see, we weren't able to examine everybody inside, but no obvious signs of human interaction," said Gretchen Lovewell with Mote Marine Labratory. Experts from several agencies spent all day Friday on Kice Island, studying the whales.
RSOE Event Index
It could also take months before biologists get the results of the necropsies and find out why these whales died. But new tonight, after speaking with the Navy, NOAA can now rule out sonar as a cause of their confusion and stranding. "Sometimes a stranding happens and you can't find a straight answer.
The size of the pod is larger than normal, but this really is not uncommon to have marine mammals toss up the white flag or make a wrong turn at Albuquerque, on either coast here. Back in October, for example, a sperm wale beached itself in Madeira Beach (west coast, near me here) In Tampa Bay, a huge Bryde's whale turned up dead in 2009. Although, if I remember correctly, baleens beach themselves with less frequency than toothed whales (like Pilots) That's a interesting factor to keep in mind.
Pilot whales seem to have a penchant for it, to be honest. There were beachings of pods in 2012, 2011, and all throughout the 90's that I'd heard of growing up here. The most infamous beaching was in 1977, with about 200 pilot whales taking a a detour up the Ft George River near Jacksonville. A huge number of them died there and it makes the Everglades stranding look meh. Here's a paper on that 1977 mass stranding.
I'm going to disagree with the east coast poster above, and say it probably has much less to do with the military, and much more to do with their social structure whether or not illness is not present. Monkey-see, money-do mentality, Oooh-shiny mentality, don't-question-your-leader mentality. Dunno, I don't speak whale, but the long history of whale beachings precedes our sonar & pollution contributions to the waters. The Flemish coast has a 500+ year history of beachings, for example (or are we going to blame yet-to-exist sonar & weird lights for that, too?) So it's not like it's something new, but dumping contaminants certainly wouldn't help any. If mercury and other heavy metals would bork a human brain, why does anyone think another species in immune to the effects? It's probably not the sole reason, but shouldn't be ignored if we're creating mentally compromised species because we're pigs.
I'd keep googling for other recent history beaching examples, but holy crap, article overload from this pod's beaching is insane. If anyone knows any tricks to wading through it for other events, be my guest.
YOU suck Corexit down YOUR blowhole and well see how YOU survive......