Two adult and two juvenile whales were found dead on Papamoa Beach located in the Bay of Plenty on the east coast of New Zealand’s North Island.
Officials from the Department of Conservation collected blood and tissue samples from the whales for testing.
More whale strandings than usual have occurred on Papamoa Beach this summer. There is some concern that sonar being used to locate containers on the seabed may be interfering with the whales navigation systems, however there is no evidence to confirm this theory.
53 New Zealand fur seals, (51 less than 2 months old) were found dead on South Australia’s west coast.
Necropsies were performed on 3 of the pups at Adelaide University, but results were inconclusive, as the bodies were badly decomposed. Theories included infection or foul play.
The seals were found on a beach not too far from two large New Zealand fur seal rookeries, but there is no indication why the pups found their way there and why they died. It is highly unusual to have so many fur seals die in one place.
Beached dolphins are not an unknown occurrence on Cape Cod between January and April, but the number of dolphins in this stranding is an unusually large number.
Members of the IFAW (the International Fund for Animal Welfare) staff, along with volunteers, were able to rescue 19 of the stranded dolphins. Five of the rescued dolphins were tagged with satellite tracking devices, to study their future movements. Forty dophins died after beaching.
A definite cause of the stranding is not known, however it is believed that the topography of Cape Cod contains areas where the dolphins can get stuck.
Rough weather has been blamed for the appearance of thousands of starfish on the beaches of South Carolina. High winds on Monday night generated high waves which dislodged the starfish from the rocks that they cling to. The starfish on Pawleys Island were stacked on top of each other and although most were dead, some were still alive.
In December, hundreds of starfish and jellyfish washed up on the beaches of Charleston. Their deaths were attributed to cold weather.
55 pilot whales beached themselves on Chapin Beach, 80 miles from Boston, Massachusetts. Volunteers worked for hours, pouring cold water on the whales and eventually coaxed 46 of the whales back into the water. Nine of the whales died.
A 45 ton, 40-foot long female Sei whale washed ashore in Sandbridge, Virginia, just south of Virginia Beach. The Virginia Beach Aquarium planned to do a necropsy on site, but marks on the whale indicated interaction with a ship. Sei whales are an endangered species and are not common in the Virginia Beach area.