When the Whales Came


By Luke Farnish

Few animals fill us with more awe than whales, the majestic but gentle giants of the seas. Seeing one of these magnificent creatures stranded on a beach is distressing, but so far this year thirty sperm whales have been stranded on beaches across the North Sea from France to Helgoland. The first to be washed up this year in the UK was at Hunstanton, not far from UEA on the north Norfolk coast. Unfortunately all the UKs washed up sperm whales have now died. 

Many have been understandably upset by this and blame has been thrown in multiple directions. Two whales that washed up in Skegness had written on their fins ‘mans fault’ and ‘Fukushima RIP’. However, there is no evidence that the Fukushima plant had any effect on the fate of the whales. Investigators are looking into other possible causes. 

Notably, all the washed up whales are bulls (males) and this has led to the theory that they all belong to the same pod (group) made up of bachelors that have taken a wrong turn and found themselves stranded. Samples of all the whales have been taken for analysis by scientists from the Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme (CSIP). We can only hope that no more are stranded and that the cause of the strandings is found soon.

Image Sperm Whale about to dive‘ by Bernard Spragg. NZ is licensed under CC0 1.0


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