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Beaked Whales Strand in New Jersey, Florida; Sonar Possible, but Other Causes Likely

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The appearance of beaked whales on beaches always raises concern about possible sonar impacts, since these deep-diving whales are the family that is apparently most sensitive to mid-frequency active sonar. Over the past couple of weeks, two beaked whales stranded, one dead near Atlantic City, one alive in Florida. The Florida whale has been diagnosed with meningitis, along with infections in multiple organs and a heavy parastic infection in its liver. The whale was too ill to return to the sea; it was euthanized after Navy scientists conducted hearing tests, which have rarely been possible with beaked whales. The Atlantic City whale underwent a necropsy; initial results did not show any clear cause of death or weakness. The Navy has said that there has been no active sonar activity within a hundred miles of Atlantic City since a major exercise ended in early June; while this does not preclude the possibility that the whale was injured while escaping sonar signals, the single animal does not match earlier incidents that involved multiple animals or species. A beaked whale that stranded in the same area in December had an inner ear infection, which could have contributed to its stranding. While ongoing research and closer public scrutiny are offering a clearer sense of the ways that sonar affects beaked whales (especially triggering dangerous/injurious fleeing behavior), it is also important to remember that not every dead whale is a victim of sonar impacts. Sources:, 6/25/08 [READ ARTICLE] Press of Atlantic City, 6/29/08 [READ ARTICLE]

One Response to “Beaked Whales Strand in New Jersey, Florida; Sonar Possible, but Other Causes Likely”

  1. Dear Kitty. Some blog :: Beaked whales in Bay of Biscay :: July :: 2008 Says:

    […] More on beaked whale strandings in the USA: here. […]