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​What is Whale Stranding?

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We look at this unexplained phenomena amongst marine mammals...

Whale stranding, also known as cetacean stranding, is a mysterious wonder humans are still trying to get their head around. The strange occurrence involves whales being washed up onto a beach or shore. Stranding usually results in death for these creatures of the sea due to various circumstances. They include collapsing on their own weight, dehydration or drowning through their blowhole.

This peculiar phenomena has been recorded throughout time however, scientists and marine biologists are yet to conclude with a definitive explanation as to why it happens.

Whale strandings have been evident throughout history and occur quite frequently in Australia. This mysterious, but yet ghastly spectacle is common around the southern and western coastlines of Australia and also prevelant around Tasmania.

Last year, there was a mass stranding in Western Australia involving 18 pilot whales. Previous to this incident, seven sperm whales died due to a stranding in South Australia. Tasmania’s whale strandings have appeared to be the most intense, with 177 sea animals washing up on shore in a single incident.

According to the Australian Department of the Environment's website, some of the theories include; whales dying at sea and resulting in being washed up onto shore, disorientation from the marine animals due to following prey into shallow water, the shape of the coastline directing them in the wrong direction and whales being lead onto shore by predators.

Upon research, the main theories for whales beaching themselves, include navigational errors, hunting too close to shore, rough tides and weakness due to injury or old age, which encourages whales to swim towards shallow waters with others following suit.

Another speculation from marine biologists as to why whale stranding occurs is due to the increase of chemicals and pollution ending up in our waterways. This may lead to deformities within marine animals, leaving them mentally impaired. The aftermath of these toxic chemicals, result in the weakening of marine mammals and may contribute to some of the above theories.

Cetacean strandings generally involve common dolphins, oceanic dolphins, pilot whales, or sperm whales. Coincidently, these species all have teeth, unlike filter-feeding whales. We wonder if that has anything to do with this mystery…?

If you come across whale stranding, call local authorities or the whale hotline immediately.

Photograph: Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service

How do I toilet train my cat

I rescued an adult female, desexed cat six months ago. Apparently she’s always been an outside cat. I have another cat who is mostly indoors and I would only let outside during the day if I was home. Luna didn’t like being indoors and wasn’t using the litter tray properly. I had her confined in the bathroom for a few days to get use to it and she would go next to it, rarely in it. She will sometimes use a tray otherwise will urinate or poop on the floor. I am at wits end. I have two trays, I’ve changed the type of litter, put dirt in the tray, picked up the poop and put it in the tray to show her that where it goes. I’ve used spray in the tray to attract her to want to use the tray. I bought felliway diffuser which is meant to calm cats and have also used the rescue remedy drops in her food. I’ve recently moved house where there is a cat enclosure so she can go in and out when ever she pleases but still goes in the kitchen (as I now close the bathroom door when she started going to the toilet in there), but tonight I noticed she’s been going in the spare room if anything is left on the floor which is carpeted. So I’ve now cleared that whole room to prevent her from going to the toilet. She is still going in the kitchen. I’ve tried cleaning the area and eliminating her scent by using water and vinegar then once dry use bi carb soda and hydrogen peroxide and it has made no difference. She’s been tested for a bladder infection which came up negative. I love animals. I have another cat which she now gets along with and two dogs which she is still getting use to. I don’t know what else to do and I don’t want to give her up but feel like I will have no choice.