In less than 48 hours 3 mass strandings involved pilot whales and dolphins happened in the US East Coast and in the UK. As usual, whales died, were euthanized, some were rescued and some calves were stashed away for subsequent transfer to the Sea World. The media posted neutral description of events, whitewash opinions from “experts” and the public commented “sad, but natural events”. Well, were they natural events? We have discovered that some activities most likely involving the Navy happened a day before mass stranding in Florida and seismic survey activities for the Big Oil have been ongoing prior and during mass stranding in the UK. Please read info below and share if you can, the media, officials and NGOs involved are not interested in giving you this side of the story. As usual, feel free not to believe any of it and to verify every fact we state here for yourself.
Mass Stranding #1.
26 pilot whales, Anstruther, Fife, UK (link)
1. The Timeline:
a) 26 (initial number was 29) pilot whales were discovered around 7 am, local Coast Guard was notified, BDMLR arrived later to deal with it.
b) our source says that several seismic surveys have been going on in the North Sea, some surveys in fact are still on that had been happening when fin whales and beaked whales stranded 2 weeks ago (blog post is here: link)
c) the same source says that one survey in particular was the most powerful and also the closest to stranding site both in time and space (see map above). This survey has been going on prior (since at least August 31, 2012) and possibly even during initial stranding. The vessel name is M/V Polarcus Adira (see this monster here: link), the company has several Polarcus vessels, all monstrous and huge, in fact these are the biggest seismic surveys vessels out there (company site: link, but note that it was most likely contracted by some oil company to do a 3D survey for them). M/V Polarcus Adira tows 8 huge arrays with airguns, each array is 6000 m long. To help you visualize this horror here is Youtube video (the vessel look like one of 8 company’s Polarcus):
d) BDMLR attended this stranding and asked M/V Polarcus Adira to cease seismic survey. 16 whales are dead and it looks like 10 have been rescued and left harbour for now (link)
e) just received another info about another much smaller vessel doing survey extremely close to the stranding site. The vessel is called Bibby Tethra and it has been doing some survey utilizing sonar (link). It is much less powerful compared to Polarcus but it could have contributed to stranding as well in one way or another.
2. Our Concerns
1. BDMLR does not seem to be interested in investigating the cause of stranding (particularly anthropogenic connection) and is content with Polarcus’ flat denial of any involvement (like anyone expected them to admit it). Here is Polarcus’ communication posted on BDMLR FB page:
“The Master of MV Polarcus Adira has called our Control and confirmed that they were in transit to the area yesterday. Their activity did not cause this stranding as they were not in position when it would have happened at the turn of the tide in the early hours of the morning. Their survey began at 9am this morning, well after the stranding. All activity has been ceased and they are awaiting a call back from us before they recommence“
2. Nobody is interested in independently verifying what Polarcus has been doing in the area since August 31, 2012. We suspect that no questions will be asked.
3. Everybody needs to understand that oil companies will vehemently deny any involvement so they can write in their permit applications that “There is no evidence of adverse impacts from seismic surveying on marine mammals” (link, read more what seismic companies do not tell you here: link). Implicating their involvement will mean possible law suits from environmental groups, more hoops to jump through when they get permits for seismic surveys and more expenses to hire more Marine Mammal Observers (MMO) and Passive Acoustic Monitoring Technicians (PAM). So you see that Big Oil will do everything they can to distance themselves from this stranding.
4. BDMLR lost 16 whales in this stranding. Their necropsy results could implicate Big Oil’s role in stranding, but we are doubtful that: a) necropsy will be done as it supposed to be done; b) BDMLR will ever make it public. It is clear that BDMLR is content to brush this stranding off as “natural” and just move on to merrier matters.
5. Media reporting on this stranding was mum about seismic surveys.
3. What needs to happen
1. The public needs to realize what is going on in here and demand Polarcus Adira investigation. Also, their survey must stop until the exact cause of stranding is established.
2. The media needs to pull their head out of their %^&* and start doing some investigative journalism in here.
3. BDMLR has to be reminded that they do not own stranded cetaceans nor can they hoard, hide and arbitrary seal necropsy results. The results should be available to the public and should include info on both what was done and what was NOT DONE.
4. Environmental and cetacean welfare groups also need to pay attention to this.
Mass Stranding #2.
20 pilot whales in Avalon Beach State Park, FL, USA (link)
1. The Timeline
a) pilot whales were discovered around 9am ET by the public.
b) Florida Fish and Wildlife, Blair Mase (from NOAA’s Southeast Region division), and NGO affiliated with Sea World called Hubbs Sea World Research Institute and Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute at Florida Atlantic University (Steve McCulloch, manager of the Marine Mammal Stranding Network and veterinarian for Harbor Branch Kattis Stengard) plus their volunteers responded to this stranding.
c) 2+ whales died on their own, the rest were euthanized and 5 calves were snatched because the Sea World was interested (see discussion on calves below).
d) our sources indicate that some sort of “hazardous operations” took place August 30 and 31, 2012 (see map) and one area was only 100 km away from stranding site . As far as we know “hazardous operations” is a common lingo used to describe some armed forces’ (i.e US Navy in this case) activities that involve various firing exercises, submarines, and other atrocities.
e) no refloat or rescue attempt was made.
2. Our Concerns
1. Who is going investigate Navy connection? Who is going to question what type of “hazardous operations” really took place off Florida’s coast?
2. Media once again is mum about any of this, the public called this stranding “sad but natural event” or said that “Nature sometimes is hard to understand” and crap alike (excuse our French).
3. None of local officials/NGOs even considered refloat completely disregarding mounting evidence that mass stranded whales have nothing wrong with them in the majority of cases and can survive if given a chance.
a) This one is perhaps the fastest rescue ever documented. Note that dragging dolphin by a tail worked because a dolphin is a small animal, with a pilot whale the tail might get detached, so it is always better to actually carry cetaceans to water and not drag them like that. But it worked and we are EXTREMELY happy with this rescue. These people did not loose 1 dolphin. All survived.
b) This is a scientific report that investigated necropsies of mass stranded cetaceans from MA, USA that stranded alive between 2000 and 2006. Conclusion: (92%) of all mass-stranded cetaceans did not present with significant pathological findings upon post-mortem investigation, we concluded that these animals were relatively healthy prior to stranding and expired due to conditions directly related to the stranding event (e.g. extreme stress and shock, inability to thermoregulate, compression of internal organs).` (Bogomolni et al., 2010, link).
c) IFAW routinely rescues and releases a lot of mass stranded dolphins in Cape Cod (see mass stranding below) and attaches satellite transmitters that show that they survive and do just fine.
4. Euthanasia was decided and performed very quickly.
5. We have very low confidence that appropriate necropsy will be done on 15 whales and that it will be available to the public. US stranding teams only release necropsy reports when pressured heavily by the public.
How do we know that all calves will go to Sea World? Because they always do, check out what happened to a calf from Florida Keys stranding last year (link). Of course they cannot drag the calves to the Sea World right away, it is a bad PR, but most importantly calves need quarantine because they can transfer some wild populations diseases to the Sea World’s sterile populations. So what will happen is the calves will sit for several months in so-called “rehab” and those that survive it will be transferred to SW. NOAA also has very strict policy about what is called “dependent calves” (link). They will not last long at the Sea World so we can say that basically the entire pod has been lost yesterday because Florida stranding teams and officials are lousy and no good rescuers and did worse than some random members of the public on remote Brazilian beach. If you are interested how much money these people suck out of the Federal Government for “rescues” they regularly blew like the one in Florida you can read it here (link)
3. What needs to happen
1. The public needs to contact NOAA, NMFS, Florida Fish and Wildlife and demand investigation of this stranding.
2. The public needs to let all parties involved know that all these whales could have been saved if appropriate actions have been taken in a timely manner. What happened to this pod is unacceptable and what happened to poor calves is insane.
3. Please realize that removing some key individuals from populations can have profound effect on populations as a whole, read about this here (link)
4. This stranding and UK stranding cannot be allowed to go down as “sad but natural events”. Please share this info and talk about it with anyone who is willing to listen.
5. The media needs to start reporting on this stuff.
Mass Stranding #3
39 dolphins, Thumpertown Beach, Eastham, MA , USA (link)
a) were reported around 7 pm yesterday
b) seemed to be a part of much bigger pod of approximately 100 dolphins
c) IFAW managed to rescue all 39! Kudos for that
d) we are still looking for anthrpogenic factors, will update once we have anything
2. Our Concerns
a) Kudos to IFAW for managing rescuing all 39, but they need to start asking questions what the heck is going on at the Cape Cod. Just in January 2012 we had unusual stranding event and tons of Navy’s activity (link) but IFAW was not eager to investigate or share necropsy reports we have been asking for since January to no avail.
b) Something is not right out there Cape Cod, 3 mass strandings in 8 months, all very atypical.
3. What needs to happen
1. IFAW should release all necropsy reports. This hoarding stuff has to stop.
2. There should be some sort of investigation for possible anthropogenic influences that could have affected these strandings.
The Bottom Line:
The public is not given all sides of the story. Please check this info for yourself, share and start asking questions and educate others about what is going on with stranded cetaceans.
1. One refloated pilot whale in Scotland stranded and died (link)
2. One rescued calf in Florida has died, the remaining four have been already transferred to Sea World, these people do not waste any time, that was quick. Note how they babble that it is too early to determine the outcome re:release. It is a lingo for “we will wait ’till the public looses interest and then quietly proclaim calves non-releasable” (link)
3. We’ ve learned about another mass stranding in Cape Verde on August 24 and believe it might be connected to Florida’s mass stranding (read blog post here: link)