Earth Watch Report Banner photo FSPEarthWatchReport900x228Blogger_zps53ef6af0.jpg

…………………………………………………………………………………..

 

337 Whales Beached in Largest Stranding Ever

The cause of the massive die-off, discovered in remote waters off Patagonia, Chile, is being investigated. Scientists say they are most likely sei whales, which are endangered.

One of 337 dead whales found in Patagonia

The dead whales were first observed in Patagonia in June from the air, but now scientists are trying to figure out what killed them.
Photograph by Carolina Simon Gutstein

Scientists made a startling discovery on an observation flight over a remote fjord in southern Chile’s Patagonia: 337 dead whales. That is the biggest single whale stranding event known to science.

Because of the remoteness of the area and the roughness of the seas, scientists have not been able to examine the whales directly, but aerial and satellite photography identified 305 bodies and 32 skeletons in an area between the Gulf of Penas and Puerto Natales, toward the southern tip of the continent.

Many of the remains were in advanced states of decay so it’s unclear what species they are, says lead scientist Carolina Simon Gutstein of the Universidad de Chile and Consejo de Monumentos Nacionales in Santiago. But based on their size and location, they are probably sei whales, she says.

Endangered throughout its range, sei whales are large, bluish-gray baleen whales that filter the water to feed on krill and other small creatures. They can reach 64 feet (19.5 meters) long and 50 tons. Considered the fastest cetacean, sei whales can swim at speeds up to 31 miles (50 kilometers) per hour. Their lifespan is 50 to 70 years, and they are usually found in deep waters far from coastlines. The worldwide population is estimated at about 80,000.

 

Read More Here

Advertisements