ANSWERS: 29
  • It is still not fully understood why whales beach themselves. There are many theories and proposed suggestions as to why they would do such a thing, but nothing thus far has been proven. One major theory that has surfaced in recent years is submarine sonar equipment. Supposedly, whales and other marine life are driven crazy by the pulses put out by sonar, and in whales, it causes a condition alot like 'the bends'. The whales panic and flee. Often times they will be so badly affected by the pulse that they don't realize they are drawing in close to shore, and they'll just crash right into the beach. Other reasons may include sickness. They may lose their sense of orientation and wind up on the beach. They may be trying to escape a predator or predators. While there is no known creature in the oceans large enough or threatening enough to send dozens of whales fleeing, many larger whales are prey for Orcas (Killer Whales) and sometimes larger whales will beach themselves while attempting to flee pods of Orcas. There are many possible explanations to this phenomena, and these are only a few.
  • I have a hunch and I am not kidding: They were following an idiot whale leader (or ONE that was extremely impaired, mentally or physically). Sounds familiar? Like most herd animals, whales follow a leader: an individual that is privileged by nature, equipped with unusual ‘charisma’, navigation skills and physical strength. Unfortunately ‘follower’ whales will tag on the group’s leader even if this latter becomes impaired or looses her marbles and they sadly end up lost and eventually stuck in some beach somewhere. As you can see whale societies behave pretty much like human ones.
  • Well, or whale, I can't disprove the 'idiot leader theory' whales are herd animals, or 'pod' animals, but they are not sheep or 'sheople' as applied to human society. If something impairs a herd leader the rest of the herd is quick to sense it, even sheep, and whales are way smarter as individuals than other herd animals. But it's possible. Concerning the Navy sonar affecting the whales, whale beachings have happened way before humans developed sonar. And it's not that "whales ... are driven crazy" or have " a condition alot like 'the bends". The whales panic and flee. " But in March 2000 seven whales were found dead on a Bahamas beach, near the time and location of a U.S. Navy sonar operation. The dead whales were found to have inner ear damage. The inner ear is an integral part of the whales own sonar.Whales with inner ear damage can become disoriented swim too close to shore and beach themselves. Multiple inner ear damage among beached whales, that is all the whales have damage, is very rare, so the seven whales might have been injured by the Navy's powerful sonar technology. The Navy has since co-operated in research by announcing, when possible, sonar experiments and information seems to indicate that powerful sonar can cause damage to whales. Even before the Navy sonar theory there was an idea that beachings were caused by some malfunction in the whales sonar. Perhaps a quick acting epidemic disease, or parasites affecting the inner ear, but remember that "Multiple inner ear damage among beached whales is very rare?" So there just wasn't any evidence. Since the Navy related episodes researchers have been taking a closer look and more evidence might be backing up the natural inner ear damage theory. And perhaps a quick acting disease could make a leader an 'idiot' before the others really notice. Another theory I herd, uh, heard somwhurs, and sorry no citation here, is that the whales sonar is fooled by some geological situation. Supposedly most beachings occur on beaches that have a long gradual slope of deep sand extending into the deeper water over a harder steeper substrate such as rock that extends even farther out. Apparently the whales sonar reflects off the rock but passes through the sand the whales don't realize they are in shallower water until it's too late. Other beachings occur off of barrier islands where there are a series of long sand reefs,"almost islands," just under the water surface parallel to the beach. These reefs are of looser more "sonar transparent" sand than the real bottom and the whales get hung up on them without knowing they are there. The last I heard on that was that there just wasn't enough info to determine if most beachings did in fact occur in those physical situations. None of the theories really answers the question of why, when whales are rescued and even towed farther out to sea, many seem to insist on re-beaching themselves. Perhaps it's not just an idiot leader but the entire pod that's gone nuts. Now, where's that dynamite? Blubber-que on the beach tonight! All along the beach and quite a distance inland as well.
  • If a single whale or dolphin strands, it usually is a very sick (and exhausted) animal. Such an animal often has some infections (pneumonia is almost always one of them) and a lot of parasites (worms in the nasal passages are very common). Sometimes these animals can be rehabilitated, but often they are so sick they won't make it. Some species of whales and dolphins occassionally strand in groups. A stranding of 2 or more animals is usually called a mass stranding. There are a number of theories that try to explain the occurrence of mass strandings. No theory can adequately explain all of them. In some cases it will be a combination of causes. The most common explanations are: - deep water animals (the species that most often are the victim of mass strandings) can not "see" a sloping sandy beach properly with its sonar. They detect the beach only when they are almost stranded already and they will panic and run aground. source: W.H. Dudok van Heel (1962): Sound and Cetacea. Neth. J. Sea Res. 1: 407-507 - whales and dolphins may be navigating by the earth's magnetic field. When the magnetic field is disturbed (this occurs at certain locations) the animals get lost and may run into a beach. source: M. Klinowska (1985): Cetacean live stranding sites relate to geomagnetic topography. Aquatic Mammals 11(1): 27-32 - in some highly social species, it may be that when the the group leader is sick and washes ashore, the other members try to stay close and eventually strand with the group leader. source: F.D. Robson (?) The way of the whale: why they strand. (unpublished manuscript) - when under severe stress or in panic, the animals may fall back to the behavior of their early ancestors and run to shore to find safety. source: F.G. Wood (1979) The cetacean stranding phenomena: a hypothesis. In: J.B. Geraci & D.J. St. Aubin: Biology of marine mammals: Insights through strandings. Marine Mammal Commission report no: MMC-77/13: pp. 129-188 site: http://stason.org/TULARC/animals/dolphins/2-13-Why-do-whales-and-dolphins-beach-themselves.html
  • Cetacea that reside in local waters strand for various reasons. This answer deals only with the pods of offshore whales and dolphins that strand in mass. The species known to consistently mass strand themselves on beaches around the world have one thing in common: they feed mostly at night on the squid that breed and lay their eggs in the warm bottom waters of mid-oceanic ridge systems. Since ninety percent of all earthquakes on the planet occur near these undersea mountain ranges, it is safe bet that these whales are no strangers when it comes to seaquakes. Original coined in the 1870’s by a professor of geophysics at the University of Strassburg in Germany, the word seaquake, when properly used, describes hydroacoustic shocks felt on or under the surface emanating from earthquakes in the seabed or on land very near the shore. Seismologists call this energy T-Phase Waves (T-waves for short) and classify them as an acoustic phase from an earthquake that travels through the ocean. Japanese scientists name the disturbances seashocks. In simple terms, a seaquake is an earthquake felt at sea. Aware that consistent mass stranders spent a lot of time underwater in the most earthquake hazardous places on the planet, researchers working for the Deafwhale Society Inc. (a non-profit marine mammal conservation group) became suspicious that potent seashocks might cause barotrauma in an entire pod of whales at the same time and lead to a mass stranding. They knew the dancing seafloor could generate potent hydroacoustic shocks because society members had sailed through such an event in the early 1970’s off Puerto Rico and thought for a short period that they were about to meet their maker. To investigate their seaquake concept, the Deafwhale team checked the scientific literature and found nothing. They then called a few older scientists and learned that Marineland of Florida had supposedly ruled out earthquakes in the late 1960’s. They were able to chase down one of the early investigators who said they had checked for quakes within 500 miles of the stranding beach and found no association so they concluded that mass strandings were not the result of seismic disturbances. The Deafwhale team extended the distance to 3,000 miles believing that barotrauma from a seaquake would not kill a pod within a few days. The injury might only prevent them from diving in which case the pod might survive on the surface for a month or so before they went aground or died at sea. The way they looked at things, an injured pod might easily swim along slowly at four (4) knots and cover a hundred miles a day, and would indeed strand a long way from the epicenter. Assuming that seaquake-induced barotrauma might somehow destroyed the pod’s ability to navigate led Deafwhale’s research team to conclude that, without a sense of direction, the flow of current would turn the pod downstream just as the wind turns a weather vane. They even tested this idea by jumping in the water with blackened dive mask. Within seconds, all the divers were swimming in the same direction—downstream. The team then traced the winding surface currents from the beach to the nearest known habitat for the species in question. What they found revealed an amazing association. On average, the nearest feeding grounds for the stranded species was about 2,500 miles upstream and right on top of a mid-ocean ridge in the most volatile earthquake zones in the World. They checked their data by tracing Cape Cod mass strandings upstream for 2,500 hundred miles and found themselves over the top of the Reykjanes Ridge, an undersea mountain range several hundred miles south of Iceland. They looked for suspicious earthquakes and discovered that, on average, a nasty event or two had indeed occurred about 25 days prior to the stranding. The most suspicious earthquakes had extremely shallow hypocenters and happened in clusters of five or six events one after the other, ~30 minutes apart. The toughest question Deafwhale’s team had to answer in earlier days of developing the SEAQUAKE THEORY was why most of Cape Cod’s beachings occurred between mid-November and mid-January and seldom outside this season. This mystery cleared itself when they finally realized that the seasonal pattern corresponded with the squid’s breeding and egg-laying season. When the pods followed the squid into the earthquake zones is when their chance of injury shot up. When they followed the squid into seismic calm, the chance of stranding dropped to zero. Changing surface currents also play a part, as does the seasonal pattern of the earthquakes themselves. For some reason, shallow earthquakes along the ridge axis increased in intensity in the winter months when the surface winds increased the significant wave height. The more the Deafwhale team play with surface currents, the more it became obvious that the pod was indeed not navigating but going with the flow all the way from the epicenter to the beach. Local currents built the beaches in the first place so it made sense that current was the same force guiding the pod to the beach. Several years of study convinced the researchers that whales stranded when the current flow gently toward shore when the tide was incoming—pods generally did not strand when the current flowed out away from the beach during tidal outflow and when winds were blowing strong toward the open sea. Another strange observation was that the pods usually did not strand when heavy seas pounded the beach. When rolling waves washed tons of water up onto the sand, its flows back to the sea in a powerful stream of current running along the shoreline until it reaches a spot where it turns out to open water as a rip current. Such strong flow carried the non-navigating whales along side the sandy beach and then back out to sea. The researchers also discovered that pods where usually found stranded in the early morning by the first visitors to the area. At other times, the inrush of tide through a narrow inlet at night would carry the lost pod into a backwater trap where they would find themselves stuck in the mud on the ebb tide. As far as the stranding site, the last peace of the puzzle fell into shape when the researchers woke up to the fact that Cape Cod extended far out to sea in a hook fashion opposing the flow of the current as if some ocean giant was extending his sandy arm out to sea to trap the pods moving with the flow. Major stranding sites all over the World had this same geographical sandy hook-like feature. In fact, even minor stranding sites had small hooked shape land mass to guide the non-navigating pod into a sand trap. There were no hints of any sort that magnetic fields or the phase of the moon or the sun attracted the pods to the sand. Often two or three whales from the same pod stranded in different spots along twenty miles of shoreline causing Deafwhale’s researchers to wonder where the pod leader could be. The researchers checked the weather and usually found that a storm at sea had separated the pod a week or so before the stranding. The “following a sick leader” was ridiculous idea that scientists should have refuted a long time ago. Everything uncovered over the 30 years the SEAQUAKE THEORY was being polished pointed to only one conclusion . . . the pod had been injured by a potent seaquake that had somehow knocked out their sense of navigation. Surface currents had then taken control over the pod’s destiny and directed them to the beach. At first, the pod was able to see the shallow water and the beach and resist stranding. But after a few weeks of running from the sharks that dogged them, severe stress, vitamin depletion, dehydration, and etcetera their night vision began to fail and they could no longer stay off the beach. Earthquakes generate potent seaquakes in numerous complex ways. One of the major generators of seaquake pressure waves is the sudden and violent VERTICAL thrusting of the seafloor from a shallow earthquake hypocentered in the top few kilometers of the seabed. The energy from a deep-focus earthquake fans out as it travels up through the solid earth, weakening its impact on the hydrosphere for every mile it spreads. On the other hand, shallow-focused events put far more seismic energy into the water the closer focused they are to the rock/water interface. Deafwhale researchers are convinced that magnitude 3> quakes, <5 km deep in the seabed, can injure a pod of whales if the water in not deeper than ~500 meters (the deeper the water, the more the energy fans out, the larger the diameter of the danger zones, the less likely a pod will be injured). The depth of the pod when it encounters the seaquake is also critical. In general, the deeper they are, the lesser the “percentage” of volume change in the air sacs, the lesser the chance of injury. On the other hand, the closer the pod is to the surface, the greater is the percentage of change and the greater are the odds of barotraumatic injury. During extremely shallow-focused earthquakes, the rocky bottom jumps up and down like a giant piston, pushing and pulling the water with tremendous unimaginable force. The speed at which the piston (rock bottom) moves vertically determines the intensity of the seaquake waves above the epicenter, not the magnitude of the quake as one might at first think. If the movement is too slow, the water will flow to the sides of the piston before great pressures build; thus, the piston must move faster than the water can flow to the side in order to generate great pressures. Larger magnitude events deeper in the solid earth do make a huge difference in that these events increase the diameter of the danger zone. Deafwhale’s researchers believe that magnitude 7 earthquakes less than 20 km deep might cause a pod injury 50 miles out from the epicenter. Amazingly, rapid acceleration of the seafloor can even produce shockwaves that move vertically through the water column at more than 1,500 km per second. For example, on 29 April 1970, eighteen minutes after a 7.5 magnitude earthquake off the Coast of Mexico, Goddard Space Flight Center scientists noticed that the infrared equipment onboard the ITOS-1 spacecraft recorded a sixty (60) km circular area directly above the epicenter in which the surface waters had experienced a temperature enhancement of +3 degrees Kelvin. Four months later, on 11 August 1970, a 7.6 magnitude earthquake occurred in the region near New Hebrides Island in the South Pacific. This time infrared equipment onboard the Nimbus 4 spacecraft recorded a 2 degree Kelvin increase in temperature. Mathematicians and physicists working at Goddard calculated that both anomalous increases in temperatures were the result a seaquake shock wave of ~100,000 pounds per square inch. Another amazing fact is that if the water’s surface is not too rough when these seashocks strike the underside, the positive pressure goes thru a 180-degree phase shift (Lloyd’s Mirror Effect) and bounces back down the water column as a vacuum. Absolute zero pressure and below is likely to be a hundred fold more harmful to the whales than a high positive phases since the hydrostatic pressure drops to the point where the sea literally starts to boil in a massive field of cavitation bubbles. Cavitation (the bends) can also occur in the blood and tissue of whales. The most documented seaquake/vessel encounter in modern times occurred on 28 February 1969 when a magnitude 7.8 erupted ~20 kilometers from the position of a 32,000 ton tanker sailing in ballast from Lisbon to the Persian Gulf. Professor Ambraseys wrote an article about the event reporting that in the wheelhouse of the tanker Ida Knudsen, compasses and other permanent instruments, including the radio station binnacles were torn loose from their mountings and collapsed. Doors and fixtures where broken from their hinges and mountings. The radar mast was broken. Damage to the superstructure was more serious amidships than at the aft peak. From eyewitness accounts it appears that the ship was lifted up bodily, the bow moving up faster than the bridge, and then the whole ship was slammed back with violent vibrations, the whole event lasting about 10 seconds. After hours of drifting helplessly, the ship's engines were restarted, and with a bent propeller shaft vibrating horribly, the ship was able to ease back into Lisbon where it was surveyed and declared a total loss. The surveys proved that the hull, machinery and other equipment had sustained great damage and, because of the permanent deformation and breaks, the ship had lost a substantial part of her longitudinal strength. The complete surface of the vessel's skin from cofferdam to cofferdam buckled in places with permanent sets of four cm and the hull was twisted 18 cm. Bulkheads, hull frames and girders were buckled or torn apart and all wing tanks leaked. The bottom parts of the side platings were torn away from the girders, by as much as five cm, "effects resembling those of underwater mine explosions." Although there was not enough data to calculate the response of the ship and a good deal of uncertainty about the duration of the event, Ambraseys did rough calculations indicating a pressure wave as high as 17 atmospheres (~250 PSI). Even though Ambraseys indicated that this was ample energy to cause the damage to the Ida Knudsen, according to US Navy reports, the severe hull damage reported would not be expected unless the seaquake shock pressure reached 1,000 to 2,000 psi. Even the M/S Toubkal, 180 km away, reported experiencing violent vibrations for about one minute, and several vessels out 190 km experienced "severe vertical shocks." Ambraseys stated that in many cases of damaging seaquakes the available information is too incomplete to be of value in determining the energy in the water. He said that a number of vessels in the region of the Lofoten Islands felt the magnitude 6 earthquake of 23 July 1894. One of them in calm weather experienced such vibration that it sprung a serious leak, sinking 14 hours later. He states, "...cases of serious structural damage during some of the large Japanese earthquakes are known, but details are lacking." This article could go on for another ten pages of seaquake/vessels encounters, but let’s back up a minute before we get too far off topic. Mass stranders have been hunting squid in these seismically active waters for God only knows how long---maybe 25 million years. The process of natural selection has been at work for a long time trying to adapt these animals not only to deal with the extreme pressures experienced on a deep dive but to also deal with potent and sudden changes during seaquakes. Still . . . certain seaquakes present problems for a pod diving whales. These animals use biosonar to locate the squid in the darkness. Functional biosonar needs two ears that can distinguish the difference between when the returning echoes arrive at each ear down to less than a few microseconds. Accurate stereophonic hearing underwater also requires: (a) that the cochleae (earbones) must be isolated from skull vibrations and other unwanted sounds, and (b) that a special acoustic channel (earphones) deliver the desired echo to each ear. To isolate the inner ears from each other and the skull, evolution suspended them on long pencil thin ligaments and surrounded them with a series of small air sacs that serve as perfect acoustic scattering devices, bouncing the unwanted sound away from the earbones. To fulfill the need of “acoustic channels,” evolution gave the deep divers special sound ducts built with a unique acoustic fat and opening just below the lower jaw. These "windows of sound" feed the returning echoes passed the air sacs directly to the earbones in a fashion whereby the vibrations stimulate each ear from only one direction. Thus, by turning the head slightly left or right and up and down, the toothed whales can zero in on their prey. Evolution did well in designing the biosonar; but, in doing so, it created a special vulnerability. The air sacs and other enclosed air spaces of the diving whales are subject to barotraumatic insult if exposed to sudden and excessive alterations in the surrounding water pressure during seaquakes. If the pressure changes come too rapidly causing the volume of air in the air sacs to fluctuate too drastically for the whale to compensate, the membranes surrounding these air sacs can rupture and bleed and destroy the pod’s ability to dive and feed itself. It’s not all that bad. As mentioned above, evolution has been seaquake proofing the anatomy of deep divers for millions of years, trying hard to equip them so they can hunt their favorite food in the most earthquake-volatile areas on Earth. But evolution is never perfect. Exposure to a negative pressure of four or five atmospheres would cause the air inside the sinus cavities to expand to several times normal surface volume unless evolution set up a way to vent the expanding air, which is exactly what it did. Evolution fixed it so that air can move back and forth between the lungs and the sinuses to balance volume under pressure. As depth increases and the overall volume of air is reduced, the whales exhale slightly without opening their blow hole or mouth and the compressed air in their lungs moves into their sinus cavities to maintain volume to keep the air sacs working. The system is neat in that the hinged rib gage of the whale folds in allowing the lungs to collapse completely while the sinuses maintain volume. These deep divers reach their maximum physical depth when the sinuses cannot borrow any more air from the lungs to maintain volume. If a potent seaquake catches them by surprise, causing the sinus air to expand rapidly, the whales can vent the excess back into the lungs and visa versa. But things get a bit complex when one considers how the expanding/collapsing lungs create pressures inside the chest cavity and alter blood supply and pressure to the brain and to the heart. Under such circumstances, it’s easy to envision a situation whereby blood pressure shoots to the moon momentarily in the tiny vessels supplying the membranes of the sinus cavities at about the same time the air pressure drops. The result would be blood squirting into the sinuses, while air leaks outside, causing the collapse of the sinus cavity itself. The same or similar injury would occur in each member of the pod. Such a barotramatically-injured pod has no choice but to surface and halt all diving and feeding activity until the barotrauma heals. As shocking as it may sound, Deafwhale’s researchers believe that seaquake injury might occur every few years in a pod of deep diving whales residing in seismically active waters. The pod is injured and cannot dive and feed itself for a few weeks until the injury heals. After a period of recovery on the surface, the pod is ready to start back diving and feeding. Here’s where the role of parasitic worm fits into the scheme of things. Whales have a 10-million-year old symbiotic relationship with its sinus worms. As unbelievable as it seems, each sinus cavity is home to a particular species of parasitic worm whose soul function is to eat the loose blood and tissues of the sinus cavities and keep them clean ready for diving. In exchange, the whale provides the sinus a clean safe place to live. But if there is a hole in the membrane, the worms might eat their way outside the air sacs and start chewing on the eight cranial nerve (acoustic nerve) running nearby. If the injury is not too severe and the pod finds food on the surface, they will likely be able to return to normal diving and feeding in less than ten days. On the other hand, if they do not recover within a few weeks, they will become dehydrated and their condition will worsen due to malnutrition and etcetera. They will likely reach a point of no recovery after 3 weeks, becoming so weak that they can no longer avoid a stranding, especially at night during an incoming tide. They have no reverse gear so can not back themselves off the beach when the tide recedes. As indicated above, the trauma in the sinuses causes biosonar (navigational) failure so the pod can easily get lost at sea. Surface currents quickly turn the aimless animals downstream. They will huddle together for protection from sharks and swim along at 4-5 knots always headed in the path of least resistance (downstream) covering 100 to 125 miles per day. Land masses that extend out to sea that oppose the flow of current often serve as catching arm systems to trap the non-navigating pod. Thus, the real ANSWER for why whales and dolphins mass strand themselves is barotrauma resulting from exposure to a series of dangerous pressure changes (seaquakes) generated when thrusting earthquake erupts in the seabed below the feeding pod. CAPT David Williams Deafwhale Society, Inc www.deafwhale.com
  • Several hypotheses have been put forth to explain these strandings which likely have multiple causes. The whales may be sick or hurt; illness or parasites may affect their sense of direction. It is believed that whales use magnetic fields and underwater topography to orient themselves. For this reason, a magnetic field deviation or an odd coastline formation could cause confusion. It is not an uncommon occurrence for beached whales that have been returned to deeper water to later strand on the same beach from which they were freed. Their reference points may wrongly lead them to believe that deeper water lies in the direction of the beach. Live strandings often repeatedly occur in the same area, in zones with specific characteristics. Pelagic species of whales that are more at home in deep, mid-ocean waters may get caught off guard by the falling tide in shallow estuaries. In the case of mass stranding, whales may simply be following a confused leader, or they may be swimming to the aid of an already stranded whale that is sending off a distress call. Essentially, these strandings remain somewhat mysterious (answer taken from: www.thecryptmag.com)
  • They want a tan.
  • If you've ever saw me naked on the beach, you would understand. ;)
  • to scratch their tummies.
  • They're trying to prove Darwin's theory. One of them already evolved into Rosanne Barr
  • They get confused about which direction the deeper is in.
  • It's very sad, sometimes whole pods will beach, 20 or thirty animals, as fast as the local rescuers would get them out to sea, they would beach again. The smaller younger whales could be removed overland to tanks in a marine park, the larger animals, if they kept beaching were lost. Poisoning is the most probable explanation now, the captured whales were kept for two weeks before they recovered and were released.
  • I have to agree with part of MP1116's answer. I think that they are trying to ascape a predator like a group of killer whales (Orcas). I'm not a marine biologist - but it seems like the most likely explanation to me.
  • I think one gets beached and sends out a distress signal and they all come in because they are beautiful compassionate animals, it is very sad and i hope the can save those whales on King Island;0)
  • i think its mind controlled project of illuminati. first test to all mammals next to people of the world.
  • Sonar appears to be a logical cause for the interference to dolphin and whale disorientation. What distresses me is the fact that there is a sonar buoy located in the Antarctic region (part of the USA's HAARP (STARWARS defence shield system).I have seen some HAARP websites and the atmospheric damage that has been caused to our upper atmosphere as these military divisions EXPERIMENT with technology that they are yet to fully understand the short and long term damaging effects of. Radionics and sonar . Not unlike the damage of underground atomic testing done in the Pacific ocean. My hope is that some of you pursue this posssibility, thanks, Ren.
  • I asked my husband this question a week or so ago when a hundred or so beached themselves on the shores of Tasmania, he told me it was U.S submarines using sonar which confuses them and they end up beaching themselves.
  • Their SatNav has gone wrong.
  • In some cases it has been found to be the extremely powerful new sonar on submarines, sometimes from a good distance away. Apparently it causes such excruciating pain to whales that they beach themselves to get away from the pain!
  • I don't know if something in their radar or sonar goes awry or what. Even the experts say they don't really know
  • Someone told me that it was somehow a lack of oxygen.I'm not sure how but thats what i was told
  • i think something awful is lurking around in the ocean somewhere, something so bad that these whales will do whatever it takes to get away from the object in question. maybe some sort of military/nuclear fallout.. possibly an underwater nuclear or missle test.
  • They use sonar,and ships,particularly military ships,send out sonar into the water.This makes them disoriented and loose direction.Now military ships are restricted in certain areas from using sonar.
  • Several hypotheses have been put forth to explain these strandings which likely have multiple causes. The whales may be sick or hurt; illness or parasites may affect their sense of direction. It is believed that whales use magnetic fields and underwater topography to orient themselves. For this reason, a magnetic field deviation or an odd coastline formation could cause confusion. It is not an uncommon occurrence for beached whales that have been returned to deeper water to later strand on the same beach from which they were freed. Their reference points may wrongly lead them to believe that deeper water lies in the direction of the beach. Live strandings often repeatedly occur in the same area, in zones with specific characteristics. Pelagic species of whales that are more at home in deep, mid-ocean waters may get caught off guard by the falling tide in shallow estuaries. In the case of mass stranding, whales may simply be following a confused leader, or they may be swimming to the aid of an already stranded whale that is sending off a distress call. Essentially, these strandings remain somewhat mysterious. A live beached whale may die of disease or injury. In these cases, the disease or injury may also be the cause of the whale's stranding. If the whale is neither sick nor hurt, but is not able to get back into deep enough water, with the rising tide for example, it will generally die of complications related to being out of water. At sea, water supports the whale's body. On land, air does not offer this support. The whale's body weighs it down and it may "suffocate" under its own weight; its respiratory muscles are incapable of sufficiently dilating its rib cage to ensure adequate pulmonary ventilation. Also, on the portion of the animal's body that is in contact with the ground, blood circulation is blocked by the animal's weight, causing tissues to die. Even if the animal is returned to the water, these dead tissues will produce toxins leading to generalized infection.
  • probably all those strong sonars on submarines. i remember hearing a marine biologist saying that lots of whales that beached themselves were bleeding from their ears. how sad.
  • Running away from there spouses!
  • As if they are doing it on purpose (or porpoise)
  • I've heard it say that it because of the various navy's around the world. For some reason :)
  • There are several reasons for whales to beach themselves. They are hurt, sick, lost their way, was separated from their pod, etc.

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