Monday, December 14, 2009

Earthquake Kills Sperm Whales

An earthquake in the Ionian Sea occurred on Nov 3 and possibly ruptured the sinuses of a pod of sperm whales. These air sacs are necessary for echolocation and therefore the animals could not dive, feed, or navigate causing them to become disorientated and wind up in the Adriatic Sea. As a result the family group, of seven sperm whales, became too weak and were washed ashore between December 10th and 11th on the coast of Italy in the Southern Adriatic Sea. Mass strandings of sperm whales are extremely rare in the Mediterranean, and limited to ancient times. These include a stranding of 16 near Sicily in 1734, and a stranding of six occurred in the northern Adriatic Sea in 1853.