Featured Image: Livescience.com
Earlier this month, dozens of pilot whales littered a remote beach in Iceland after a mass stranding. Unfortunately, by the time the animals were spotted they were already deceased. The original sighting was made by tour group in a sightseeing helicopter that happened to pass over the remote area.
The pilot of the helicopter, David , had this to say, “We were flying northbound over the beach and then we saw them. We were circling over it, not sure if it was whales, seals, or dolphins. We landed and counted about 60, but there must have been more because there were fins sticking out of the sand.”
The gruesome scene was hard to see and it was too late to call for help. It is still unclear why the whales stranded. According to Edda Eliabet Magnusdottir, a marine biologist, “the most important thing to look at is that these are deep sea whales common at the continental margin. They mainly feed on s quid, which is why they’re good at diving deep. When they enter shallow waters, most of them have a tendency to become disoriented. They use echolocation for orientation, for finding one another, estimating the depth, and so on. But a sloping, sandy bottom appears to increase their disorientation. There are numerous examples of them having beached where there is such a sandy, sloping bottom. ”
In a similar incident, dozens of pilot whales stranded on St. Simon Island in Georgia this month.