Why whales beach themselves? Scientists may know the answer


Cetacean stranding or beaching is a phenomenon in which whales and dolphins strand themselves on beaches. But there is a question which bothers all the animal lovers and marine experts that is why these marine animals beach themselves?

Some scientists may have found the answer and said that such incidents happen due to a painful condition of the whales that also affects human lives.

As per many environmentalist and marine experts, underwater sonar pulses used by ships causes such stress in those animals that they become disoriented and the whales.

Recently researchers claimed that these sonar waves cause a condition called 'The Bends,' where bubbles accumulate in the blood and affect human divers if they surface too quickly. Autopsy reports of the whales, which beached themselves, have shown that these marine animals can also suffer from the bends.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) once stated that beak nose and melon-headed whales may be particularly affected by the mid-frequency active sonar (MFAS), used by the US Navy to detect submarines.

Yara Bernaldo de Quiros, the lead author of this new study and a researcher at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in Spain stated, "In the presence of sonar they are stressed and swim vigorously away from the sound source, changing their diving pattern."

In addition, he also said, "The stress response, in other words, overrides the diving response, which makes the animals accumulate nitrogen. It's like an adrenaline shot."

It should be noted that in 2008, the Natural Resources Defense Council and other environmental groups settled a lawsuit against the US Navy. Later, the Navy agreed to further investigation on how this sonar technology affects the marine animals.

Last year in November, 145 pilot whales were found after becoming stranded on a remote New Zealand beach. While 75 whales were already dead, workers decided to euthanize others due to their p[oor health condition.