The latest noted whales washing up on shore seems to be in New Zealand. 3 Whales of different species have washed up on their western coast in only a few days.
Local authorities and marine scientists say it is quite unusual for whales to wash up on the shores of the West Coast, never mind different species. The first was a Cuvier’s Beaked Whale at Greymouth, the next a 15m Sperm Whale halfway between Greymouth and Hokitika. The latest one was a small 2 – 3m whale or dolphin of unknown species that washed near Westport yesterday.
Samples are still being gathered and tested, but it is believed that the deaths are not related. Recent storms are believed to be the cause, as the rough seas might have tossed them around a bit. It is only a theory though as the whales show no signs of external injuries or ship strikes.
Whales that frequent Californian coasts can rejoice however as local groups are working at eradicating ship strikes all together. Shipping lanes in this area have been changed to reduce maritime traffic through areas frequented by whales and other cetaceans. Changes that rather funnel traffic in the San Francisco Bay and to the ports of Los Angeles were taken into effect on 1 June 2013. The new changes will coincide with a new initiative that will be launched by the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association. The project is aimed at reducing ships trikes by funding whale monitoring flights, integrate and test a whale-spotting app and also facilitate the placement of whale observers on ships.
The recorded 30 Humpback, Blue, Fin and Gray Whales that were killed or injured due to ships during 1988 and 2012 have spurred on these new changes and initiatives. Let’s hope that other countries also adopt these changes and let’s save or at least reduce the injury and death of our endangered whales.