Earlier this week, more than 80 whales were found beached on the southern coast of India. The cause of the phenomenon is yet unknown to local officials.
Over eighty whales were found beached on the southern coast of India this past Monday. As this is not the first occurrence of this type, the phenomenon is continuing to cause confusion as the catalyst behind the events has yet to be discovered.
According to Al Jazeera, The short-finned pilot whales washed ashore on the beach of Tiruchendur, a small port city in Tamil Nadu’s Thoothukudi district on Tuesday.
According to Deepak Bilgi, wildlife warden of the Gulf of Munnar Marine National Park, “Scientists investigating say it is disorientation. However we have sent one of the whales for autopsy.” At least 45 of 81 whales have died, being stranded on a beach in the Indian southern state of Tamil Nadu. At least 36 of the mammals had been rescued and returned to the sea. However, they appeared to be disoriented, with some finding their way back to the beach. As a result.
“Fishermen and officials dragged many whales into the sea, but several returned to the shore,” Kumar said.
WATCH: Around 50 Small Fin Whales beached in Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu since last evening, number of them deadhttps://t.co/lyC7aMDZxv
— ANI (@ANI) January 12, 2016
C. Scott Baker, associate director of the Marine Mammal Institute at Oregon State University feels that the mass strandings of pilot whales seems to be a natural phenomenon that results from their strong social bonds. In other words he thinks they might be stranding themselves intentionally due to some unknown catalyst causing what he called “group panic.”
He told The Dodo:
“The cause of mass strandings in pilot whales remains one of the great mysteries in the social behavior of whales and dolphins.
Although strandings of some species, such as beaked whales, are now known to be the result of human disturbance, such as navy sonar or seismic surveys, the mass strandings of pilot whales seems to be a natural phenomenon that results from their strong social bonds.“
“The close social bonds presumably results in a kind of ‘herd panic’ or ‘herd cohesion,’ bringing the entire social group (the pod) into the shallow waters and at risk of stranding.”