Please take time to read it as this is pretty big and very important development. In summer 2011 a pod 60+ pilot whales stranded in Scottish loch. Some were rescued, some died, others restranded, around 20-25 whales died in this stranding (link). This stranding is very similar to what we have been seeing over and over again. Now we have learned that the Royal Navy had been detonating unexploded bombs off the MoD’s Cape Wrath testing range (link).
Now, why is this important? For several reasons:
1. While everybody focuses on sonar, the public and scientists alike fail to realize that the Navy does much more than just sonar testing, i.e explosives, detonations, rockets, missiles, low flying aircraft tests, you name it. All these disturbances have a potential to cause the mass or even single stranding (baleen whales) and this is just another example of it.
2. Initially the Navy denied any role in this stranding. In fact they always deny their involvement and now we see that we cannot believe them and have to check their reports for basically every stranding.
3. If whales stranded because of the Navy’s activities it makes it ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY to avoid euthanasia, unnecessary delays and try to save as many whales and dolphins as possible. All this talk about “sad but natural events” has to stop along with usual babbling about strandings in Aristotle’s times and whales being lost in shallow waters or “whale traps”.
Luckily we still have all media reports about this stranding and now you can see for yourself how full of $%^& people who give interviews truly are.
For example this article says:
“A post-mortem examination suggested it had died of infection” Yes, the infection caused by bomb detonations. (link)
The same article features famous Mark Simmonds who is a head of science for The Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS). He is always interviewed in case of mass strandings. Judge for yourself what was said (link):
“As they try to help each other, they may all come ashore.
He said the situation in the Kyle of Durness looked like a “whale trap”.
He said it was “a narrow and potentially confusing body of water with many soft sandbank areas that may confound their echolocation abilities”.
He said: “Something may have startled the group further out to sea and they panicked, came into this unusual situation and were unable to find their way out.
“The stranding of one or two animals would possibly cause distress and the others in the group would try to assist the stranded individuals and themselves get into trouble.”
The same sentiment about “whale trap” is repeated in another article (link)
In fact we have 20+ articles devoted to this stranding and not a single one of them questioned possible anthropogenic cause, Navy involvement. Various officials, rescues and charity leaders kept insisting on natural causes such as topography of site, sociality, infections, etc.
Here are questions we have been asking over and over again, what responsibility these people that talk to media have? Can they provide inaccurate information or omit important information and still be considered a credible source? Why no one bothered to look for Navy connection? Why BDMLR sits on necropsy reports and refuses to release them? Who did the necropsy in this case? What was found? Why is it not easily available?
The bottom line: This stranding is just like the ones happened a month or 3 months ago. But it is important because it demonstrated how spin machine operates. The stranding was caused by anthropogenic factors and yet as usual various people insisted that it was a “natural” event. For now we only have media reports and as long as nobody (looking at you BDMLR) bothers to write the official report this case cannot be cited in any Navy or Big Oil permits. We would like to see the necropsy reports (again looking at you BDMLR) because this case offers unique opportunity to study a mass stranding caused by anthropogenic factors other than sonar.