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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

Hip Surgery for rescued puppy

2 weeks ago whilst we were in Fiji we rescued an abandoned puppy that we estimate is about 3 months old. She was starving, filthy, covered in ticks and could barely stand or walk. We fed her, washed her, removed all ticks and just gave her love. We called her Pretzel as she was so skinny when we found her that all her bones were sticking out and her hip bones looked like a big twisted pretzel and her long skinny legs looked like Pretzel sticks. Our intention was to find her a home in Fiji but after a week or so she had gained weight, but we noticed that her left hip bone was still protruding and that when she walked we noticed that her left back foot turned out slightly. Also, when she ran she would use both back legs together and hop like a bunny. We took her to an animal shelter in Fiji called Animals Fiji and they examined her and advised that they thought it might be dislocated. They X-rayed her and then sedated her to try and manipulate the bone back into the socket. This was unsuccessful. The vet advised that it appeared that the end of the bone where the ball should be round was malformed either from a trauma/injury when young or by birth. He advised that he does not have the equipment in Fiji to treat her properly and that she would need surgery to correct the bone and to tighten the ligaments to her support her leg. We are exporting her to Australia on the 7th of March and are trying to raise some funds to assist us. We are hoping that you can assistance to find a Vet in Melbourne that could assist with the operation at a reasonable price.