Not All Live Strandings Are Natural
While some strandings could indeed be due to natural causes, it is not always the case because live strandings have been connected to human activities. Live strandings should be distinguished from dead strandings because they most likely have different underlying causes.
Whales and Dolphins Can Survive Strandings
Contrarily to popular belief, whales and dolphins can survive stranding. The key is to provide the necessary help, a timely response and rehabilitation if needed. Euthanasia is unacceptable unless all other measures have been taken, tried out and failed repeatedly.
Orphaned Cetaceans Can Survive
As of now, stranded orphaned whales and dolphins are automatically euthanized. However, recent cases show that these orphans can survive, and can find their pod or an adult female that will take of them. There have been also cases of adoptions, even cross-species adoption.
Anthropogenic Factors Contribute to Live Strandings
Research shows that anthrpogenic factors (i.e. Big Oil surveys, Navy exercises) contribute to strandings. According to our data, in 2013 over 72% of live mass strandings happened as the Big Oil surveys, Navy exercises or both had been going on in the area.
2013 Live Strandings Report
StrandedNoMore is the only organization that tracks and records live strandings worldwide. We collect data from a variety of sources, yet we feel we still greatly underestimate the actual numbers. We encourage everyone to submit strandings here. Our reports include live strandings only and do not include dead animals or carcasses washing ashore and do not include die-offs (although we note die-offs as you can see here). Below are some excerpts from our annual 2013 report (the full report is found here).
- 78% of all strandings were mass strandings 78%
- 70% all whale strandings involved deep diving species 70%
- 37% of all whale strandings involved kogias 37%
- 31% of all stranded whales were rescued 31%
We strongly believe that rescuing stranded whales and dolphins should be seen as conservation in action.
It is our opinion that euthanasia is taken too lightly these days. What was supposed to be the last resort after all options were exhausted somehow became a first response. Countries that euthanize include the USA, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, South Africa, Spain, the Netherlands and others. Stranded live whales and dolphins should be protected not only under the Marine Mammal Protection Act but also under the Declaration of Cetacean Rights. We urge everyone involved in stranding response to reconsider their current protocol and focus all efforts on rescuing, medical treatment, study and release of stranded cetaceans.