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Whale, dolphin and porpoise strandings

12 Posts tagged with the post_mortem tag
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There are some very confusing and contradictory stories coming through about the mass strandings going on in Peru. I have done some digging and this seems to be the best source for information https://lists.uvic.ca/pipermail/marmam/2012-April/004248.html

 

I’ve highlighted some of the main points below:

 

Numbers are always uncertain in these cases but it sounds like several hundred animals have washed up in the last month, with still more coming in. The strandings have taken place on the southern border of Illescas National Park, in Piura state.

 

Peru strandings.bmp

 

There are 2 species involved, Long beaked common dolphin (Delphinus capensis) and Burmeister’s porpoise(Phocoena spinipinnis).  Unoffical figures put strandings numbers as high at 3000 animals (these figures may be taking a larger area and/or time frame in to account), although these more offical figures show less with dolphins have taken by far the largest hit of around 600 dead animals, with numbers of porpoises being much lower at around 20 animals. They are all in various decomposition states but they all seem to have washed up with in the last 5 weeks.

 

The necropsies performed on site show two main causes of death (although they are waiting for further results, so this isn’t conclusive yet), most of the results seem to be leading towards a potential epidemic outbreak of morbillivirus brucella (which has been linked to many mass stranding events, including in Europe in the 90s) with some animals showing signs of acoustic impact and decompression syndrome.

 

 

 

 

 

In related but other news, the Cape Cod strandings Cape Cod strandings finally easing seems to still be dwindling on (even though the end of the mass stranding has been announced), but sadly still no results.

 

So far no patterns have emerged, but the many lab analyses will take months to complete, we may yet find one.

 

 

 

Source: http://www.ifaw.org/us/news/stranding-update-no-patterns-depleting-resources-yet-teamwork-still-prevails

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Watch our project leader doing a post mortem on a common dolphin.

 

THIS IS NOT FOR THE FAINT HEARTED!!

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/video/2011/dec/16/watch-postmortem-beached-dolphin-video

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Another pick up

Posted by Strandings Officer Dec 8, 2011

A little while ago CSIPs head honcho Rob went to Devon to get a dolphin and came back with 3 5 post mortem animals for 2 trips this time he went and only came back with the one, standards are obviously dropping (just joking boss!).

 

We got wind of a live strandings over the weekend from BDMLR, the local coastguard and one of my favourite volunteers David J. Despite some local surfers staying in the water with the common dolphin for what sounds like hours, the local vet had to make the hard decision to put the animal down. I know everyone on the scene worked really hard to keep the animal alive and were understandably disappointed at the outcome. It’s not the perfect end to the story but hopefully our post-mortem will help answer some questions about why the animal had to die.

 

David J just emailed me this picture of one of the guys trying to save the dolphin, such a shame it didn't work out.

 

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It's been a busy week for pick ups, CSIP's head honcho Rob did a gallant round trip to Devon to pick up 2 animals and whilst on the road I got a call about a 3rd on Hayling Island beach. With a squeal of the brakes and a quick turn around Rob was able to squeeze the third animal in the back of his car.

 

There was then a 'mass' stranding in Kent, nr Folkstone. I say 'mass' as it was 2 animals, probably not quite what you'd term as mass but scientific history states 2 or more animals to be recorded as 'mass'. Unable to get anyone to check the animals were still there and not being too far away myself, I headed there on the Monday morning. I had a fun time scouting what is possibly one of the larges beaches I've ever seen for 2 not very large harbour porpoises. With the help of a very lovely couple (sorry I didn't get your names) we managed to track down the animals and secure them for pick up by James (who was on his way from the museum).

 

Unfortunately I've been unable to put up PM results so far as they all have to go to Defra first, but after talking to head honcho Rob he said we may be able to put up some basic results a bit sooner, fingers crossed!

 

2 head.JPG

 

 

Photo of one of the 'mass' strandings from New Romney, photo by Susanna Clerici

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We've had quite a few reports in recently and I'd like to thank everyone that has reported to us. Even if the animal is just a bag of bones and blubber (it happens more then you'd think), we still want to hear about it!

 

Notably I'd like to thank the Reciever of Wreck and London coastguards who have helped us today with the pick up of a harbour porpoise, in Chiswick London.

 

Sadly a common dolphin at Shaldon beach, South Devon had to be disposed of as we couldn't organise a driver for it to be picked up (people are always busy during the school holidays), but a massive thanks to Sarah and Paul for all your help and I'm sorry we couldn't make it work.

 

Lastly a massive thanks to Dave and the owners of Woolacombe beach (nice work if you can get it), who helped us pick up a young common dolphin from North Devon a few weeks ago.

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We are getting rumbling rumours of a second sei whale stranding (no jokes about buses please), this time in Scotland. There was definitally a stranding yesterday but the species ID is a little uncertain.

 

Details are all a bit vague, but I believe it was a live stranding that unfortunately died. I'm sure our Scottish team will be involved in the postmortem, the last one was quite badly decomposed so getting details wasn't very easy, sounds like this one should be better.

 

Its a big shock if its is a sei, to get 2 in a year is unheard of but 2 in a week....

 

Edit - chanced seemed a bit slim, the animal has been confirmed as a fin whale. It can often be the case that if you get a rare stranding every other stranding for a week or so after is reported as that species, I guess its in peoples minds.

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Hearing rumours of a sei whale in Humberside this morning, which is very exciting. These are very rare strandings as they prefer deep off shore waters, we've only seen 3 in the last 22 years. The boys are on their way to investigate, and hopfully perform a post mortem.

 

Sei whales are the third largest Balaenopteridae and are up to 20m long they are filter feeders, enjoying the same diet as other filter feeders, consisting mainly of krill. They got hit hard by the hunting and were initally protected, however sadly they remain a part of the 'research' conducted by Japan. It can be fairly easy to confuse them with fin whales but an inside tip for you is that fin whales have asymmetrically patterened baleen, gray and white, while the sei whales is just white. They can shift as well, reaching 30 miles an hour but only for short distances, but compared to other species they are a bit rubbish are diving, only reaching shallow depths and rarely staying down for more then 15 minutes.

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I've not updated for a few weeks as I've been on holiday and we've had a bit of a busy run of things.

 

A live stranded harbour porpoise on the Isle of Wight was picked up for pm by our team http://www.islandpulse.co.uk/b2/british-divers-attempt-to-rescue-porpoise-8756/

 

I went to Dorset on Friday to pick up another porpoise that stranded in Dorset last week, a massive thank you to Dave and Dorset council for all their help!

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News article about the sowerbys beaked whale CSIP pm'd, as mentioned in an earlier post.

 

“We won’t know why she ended up in the North Sea and then stranded at Thornham but she wasn’t very old so she may have been separated from her mum and then couldn’t find her way home.

 

“It would’ve been completely hopeless to try to re-float this whale in this situation because she was far away from home and in a poor condition. She wouldn’t have survived for much longer.”

 

He added: “In the water these whales are weightless but once they are on land they cannot support their own body weight. They have a lot of heavy muscle and tend to crush themselves and eventually their lungs collapse.”

 

 

Source: http://www.eveningnews24.co.uk/news/sad_end_for_stranded_whale_found_off_norfolk_coast_1_995405

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Just this second got back from picking up a porpoise that was reported as live stranded in Ulrome. A MASSIVE thankyou to Tanya who was an amazing help with this animal (and who also has an absolutely beautiful baby girl).

 

The animal was male, and incredibly fresh as you can see in the photos. Hopfully the animal will be pm'd in the next few days but I know the boys at the Zoo are shattered after a long night pming a sowerbys beaked whale! Busy here at the moment.

 

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Photo courtesy of Tanya

 

 

As always I'll post up cause of death, if known in a few weeks time when the pm results come back.

 

UPDATE: Cause of Death Category: Pneumonia, Parasitic.

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We've had several reports of a fin whale at Lynmouth beach in Devon. Its on a very popular beach in the middle of summer so unsurprsingly the press is all over this one! The animal is approximatly 55ft and believed to be female.

 

Our CSIP collegues are also all over it and I believe will be performing a post mortem today.

 

fin whale.jpg

Photo by Apex

 

As always I'll up date this post when we get the pm results back.

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If you missed it, you can catch up with Inside Natures Giants on 4oD, it shows a post mortem of a sperm whale, so probably not best for lunch time viewing!

 

http://www.channel4.com/programmes/inside-natures-giants/4od#3219787

 

All the guys in red with ZSL on their arms are our gang from Cetacean Strandings Investigation Program, I'm like a proud mum!