U.S. Department of Commerce

 

Authors

Sarah J. Dolman, Whale & Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS), Brookfield House, 38 St Paul Street, Chippenham, Wiltshire, SN15 1LJ, UK
Eunice Pinn, Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), Dunnet House, 7 Thistle Place, Aberdeen, AB10 1UZ, Scotland, UK
Robert J. Reid, Scottish Agricultural College (SAC), Veterinary Services Division, Wildlife Unit, Drummondhill, Stratherrick Road, Inverness, IV2 4JZ, Scotland, UK
Jason P. Barley, Scottish Agricultural College (SAC), Veterinary Services Division, Wildlife Unit, Drummondhill, Stratherrick Road, Inverness, IV2 4JZ, Scotland, UK
Rob Deaville, Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London, Regent’s Park, London, NW1 4RY, UK
Paul D. Jepson, Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London, Regent’s Park, London, NW1 4RY, UK
Mick O’Connell, Irish Whale & Dolphin Group (IWDG), Merchant’s Quay, Kilrush, County Clare, Ireland, UK
Simon Berrow, Irish Whale & Dolphin Group (IWDG), Merchant’s Quay, Kilrush, County Clare, Ireland, UK
Rod S. Penrose, Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme (CSIP), Marine Environmental Monitoring, Penwalk, Llechryd, Cardigan, West Wales, SA43 2PS, UK
Peter T. Stevick, Hebridean Whale & Dolphin Trust (HWDT), 28 Main Street, Tobermory, Isle of Mull, PA75 6NU, Scotland, UK
Susannah Calderan, Hebridean Whale & Dolphin Trust (HWDT), 28 Main Street, Tobermory, Isle of Mull, PA75 6NU, Scotland, UK
Kevin P. Robinson, Cetacean Research & Rescue Unit (CRRU), PO Box 11307, Banff, AB45 3WB, Scotland, UK
Robert L. Brownell, Jr., Southwest Fisheries Science Center, NOAA Fisheries Service, Pacific Grove, CA 93950, USA
Mark P. Simmonds, Whale & Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS), Brookfield House, 38 St Paul Street, Chippenham, Wiltshire, SN15 1LJ, UK

Date of this Version

2010

Comments

Published in Marine Biodiversity Records.

Abstract

In the first seven months of 2008, eighteen Cuvier’s beaked whales (Ziphius cavirostris), four Sowerby’s beaked whales (Mesoplodon bidens), five unidentified beaked whales and twenty-nine long-finned pilot whales (Globicephala melas) were reported stranded in the UK and Ireland. Decomposition of those animals investigated puts the predicted time of death at mid-January. Concerns that an unusual mortality event had taken place prompted further investigations. Most carcasses were too decomposed for necropsy. A summary of findings is presented here. Although the initial stranding of five Cuvier’s beaked whales in Scotland shared some similarities with atypical mass stranding events linked in time and space to mid-frequency naval sonars, there were two important differences with the remaining strandings during this period. First, the geographical range of the event was very wide and second, the strandings occurred over a prolonged period of several months. Both of these factors could be related to the fact that the mortalities occurred offshore and the carcasses drifted ashore. The cause(s) of this high number of strandings of mixed offshore cetacean species during this period remain undetermined.

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