33 Pilot Whales Found Dead On Donegal Beach

Thirty-three whales have died in a mass beaching off the coast of County Donegal, in Northern Ireland, according to the BBC News. Most of them were females and their calves. (There is also a video at this link.)

Scientists are trying to understand how the group of long-finned pilot whales got stranded on Rutland Island, near Burtonport. They believe this is the same pod that was spotted in the Outer Hebrides just a week ago, at the end of October.

The Amazing Pilot Whale

Despite its name, the long-finned pilot whale is actually a member of the oceanic dolphin family. Weighing in at more than three tons, and measuring more than 6 meters in length, these creatures are also amazing divers, capable of reaching depths of up to 600 meters. They have a potential lifespan of more than 50 years.

Pilot whales also have a strong family network, so when just one member of the pod strands, the rest of the group tends to follow, leading to mass stranding like this one.

Sonar Signals Led Them Astray?

But why did that one whale go ashore? Some animal rights’ campaigners believe that Royal Navy sonar equipment could have disturbed the navigational skills of these deep diving whales, leading them to beach themselves.

Sonar Equipment Banned In The U.S.

In the past the Royal Navy has denied that sonar noise from its warships could cause whales to beach. The United States begs to differ. The U.S. Navy was ordered not to use mid-frequency sonar during training exercises from 2007 to 2009, after a judge found in favor of activists who argued that the devices harmed marine mammals in the area.

Scientists are currently taking skin and tissue samples from these whales, so let’s hope they find some answers. What a tragic story.

Creative Commons - ahisgett


Jennifer M.
Jennifer M6 years ago

We must stop doing things to harm animals! Even if that makes our lives less "convenient".

dianne g.
Devora Martin6 years ago

Whales navigate using sonar, where sound waves bounce off solid objects. The military's version of that disrupts the whale's ability to navigate & "hear" where they are going, becoming disoriented and beaching themselves. The world's navy's should take profound caution when instituting these sound waves, as it strands & kills many whales in the areas. It's comforting to know that at least we are aware of it's consequences -- but more stringent laws are needed to protect these voyaging cetaceans, all around the world.

Janine H.
Janine H6 years ago

Poor animals... it is so sad.

"We" destroy everything around us, but who has to pay for "our" sins? Those who cannot defend themselves as children, animals and plants

"Only when the last tree has been cut down; Only when the last river has been poisoned; Only when the last fish has been caught; Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten."
(Native American proverb)

"We have learned to fly the air like birds and swim the sea like fish, but we have not yet learned the simple art of living together as brothers." (Martin Luther King)

jennifer curtis
jennifer curtis6 years ago

it was sad that 33 whales died. if we used sonar to protect animals that use sonar to keep them out of a dangerous place, then yes use sonar.

Jami Winn
Jami Winn7 years ago

if we use them to keep them away from bad areas then no its not that bad an idea but for this purpose yes

Barbara Erdman
Barbara Erdman7 years ago

sadly noted. thanx

Frances B.
Frances Bell7 years ago

Let's not discount the idea that human generated sonar devices might have somehting to do with this - everything else we do interferes with the natural world

Petra Luna
Petra Luna7 years ago

When man made technology makes other species die, it's time to take action to save the planet from stuff like this. These 30 whales died for no legitimate reason.

Brunschwig k.
Komala B7 years ago

I have no words to say as I feel to live in dream world.
" civilization is morality... the true civilization is spiritual, isn't it?" not enmity and greed to conquer our neighbouring countries. "we must be men of the future who allow their hearts to speak along with their reason.Only then will we develop in to what we are meant to be: not supermen but real men, living and acting in the spirit of profound humanism".

Joy Dantine
Joy Dantine7 years ago

I too, am afflicted with perfect hearing and find slight variations of sound not heard by others - to be somewhat alarming. I am sad when parents of newborns blast their music and attend surround sound movies with dolby stereo. Let it be known, even public arenas such as large office building parking structures have a generator noise surpassing safe levels - and do not alert to the safety hazard - so, I know, firsthand, those overseeing such due diligence - do not! SAY SO LONG TO SONAR IN CERTAIN CASE SCENARIOS. LET US LEARN FROM THIS TRAGEDY. EQUILIBRIUM IS NOT A STRAIGHT AND FORWARD SCIENCE, BUT, WE DO KNOW THIS, IT IS IMPORTANT TO MAKE A STAND - AND GO FORWARD.