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Why This Matters: Strandings like this are a rare event. Pilot whales are extremely intelligent and social creatures and when they beach they do it in large groups leading to mass deaths. Thanks to the quick work of Georgia beachgoers and lifeguards who jumped into action and as well as local animal rescue volunteers, dozens of pilot whales were saved. It is great to see such empathy for these animals — local folks could have just let them beach but instead chose to act.
According to research published in The Royal Society’s Proceedings B journal earlier this year, beaked whales (pilot whales are a type of them), in particular, are so distressed by the military using sonar in training exercises that they will beach themselves or dive to extreme depths resulting in decompression sickness.
The U.S. military does conduct undersea sonar training exercises near the Georgia coast.
Yet another possible explanation is that healthy whales following sick whales into shore and then become stranded themselves because they struggle to remain near the dying whale — whales and dolphins are known to have strong social bonds.
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources spokesman Rick Lavender told the AP that the pod of whales remained offshore Wednesday afternoon and that the state had a boat with conservationists from National Marine Mammal Foundation following the whales and that a helicopter also was searching for more stranded whales but found none.
H/T to Raleigh and Stephanie, our partners at the St. Simons Land Trust, for this good news story!
By Amy Lupica, ODP Daily Editor According to the Australian Koala Foundation, 30% of the nation’s Koalas have been lost to drought, bushfires, and logging in just three years. The population has dropped to 58,000 from more than 80,000 in 2018, and no regions saw positive population growth. These findings arrive just days after the […]
By Amy Lupica, ODP Daily Editor The maned wolf is certainly a unique animal, with long legs, massive ears, and bright red fur. Many might compare it to a fox, but it’s actually South America’s largest canid species. And not only is the maned wolf elusive — it’s endangered. Researchers working with Rewilding Argentina and […]
Today is International Red Panda Day! These iconic and adorable creatures are worth celebrating for many reasons, but they’re also in need of serious protection. This cat-sized, fluffy-tailed animal is listed as endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list. Climate change and rising temperatures are reducing the red panda’s […]
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