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(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); Wind farms, ships’ sonar and hunger... as yet another whale beached, we examine the theories behind tragedy - Algeria latest news

Wind farms, ships’ sonar and hunger... as yet another whale beached, we examine the theories behind tragedy
Wind farms, ships’ sonar and hunger... as yet another whale beached, we examine the theories behind tragedy
Wind farms, ships’ sonar and hunger... as yet another whale beached, we examine the theories behind tragedy

A WHALE which beached itself died last night, the sixth in the UK this year.

The 45ft sperm whale was spotted in trouble at Hunstanton, Norfolk, early yesterday.

But an attempt to rescue the mammal was deemed too dangerous due to its 30-ton weight.

Officials poured water over it until the tide came in, but the whale remained stuck.

It was the same spot another beached last month. Four more died in Skegness and Wainfleet, Lincs, among 24 in Europe in the past month.

Rescuer Stephen Marsh said: “We think they’re from the same pod. We just had to let nature take its course.”

Strandings were one a year but have recently jumped to six. A possible cause is the rise in wind turbines.

Wind farms

VIBRATIONS from five huge wind farms off the East Anglia coast (with 300-plus turbines between them) may be confusing whales.

Rob Deaville of the Seawatch Foundation said: “The North Sea is quite an industrial area, so that adds to the difficulty.”

Hunger

WHALES eat a ton of food a day. If their prey, like squid, heads to the North Sea they follow until it runs out.

Expert Dr Peter Evans said: “When they get to Norfolk, which is very shallow, they can lose their way.”

Dehydration

HUNGER is not the only problem if the food runs out.

Whales, being mammals, cannot drink salt water and rely on food to hydrate.

Rob Deaville said: “Their only way of taking on water is via the feeding process. They can quickly get dehydrated and die.”

Sonar

WHALE sonar is designed for deep oceans so navigation is poor in the North Sea’s shallow waters.

Rob Deaville said: “There’s a huge drop-off point to the north west of Scotland.”

Ships’ sonar may also be confusing them.

Pollution

OIL and chemical spills can poison whales — along with sewage and other waste increasingly dumped in our seas.

Some beached whales were recently discovered to have plastic in their stomachs.

Boats, nets, sharks

NAVIGATION skills can also be damaged by contact with ships or fishing nets.

Shark attacks have also been blamed. Scottish marine expert Andrew Brownlow said: “Boat strikes are a common cause of strandings.”

Global warming

FEMALE sperm whales tend to stay in the tropics, but males are regularly spotted in Norway and Shetland.

A change in sea currents means the waters may have been warmer than usual, meaning whales stay longer and run a greater risk of stranding.

Tag(s) : #Europe

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