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Falkland Islands action plan for whale strandings

Monday, May 6th 2019 - 09:55 UTC
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The reiteration of cetacean strandings and the possible responses to this growing phenomenon were addressed in the Falkland Islands by the Environmental Committee at the Department of Agriculture in Stanley.

Environmental Officer Denise Blake suggested that a protocol might be developed on how strandings are handled. She noted that there had been a rash of strandings since November of last year, when 49 long-finned pilot whales beached at Rabbit Creek on Pebble Island, with another seven on Rabbit Island.

In December 2018 two southern right whale dolphins were stranded at Sea Lion Island, with a southern right whale carcass beaching in the same location in March this year.

Also in March, but this time at Brenton Loch, approximately 120 long-finned pilot whales were stranded. A sei whale carcass also washed up near Saladero in April.

Approximately 180 animals were involved in the strandings, with the cause unknown in all cases.

The responses to the events came from a number of different bodies, including SAERI, Falklands Conservation and the Elephant Seal Research Group.

The committee were unsure whether this was an unusually high number of incidents.

Indeed, it was impossible to judge whether the amount of strandings that have occurred is particularly unusual, since observations of the events are usually made by chance, and often by FIGAS pilots.

However, a plan of action for responding to strandings was thought to be a useful tool. In the meantime, committee chair MLA Leona Roberts said that the main thing was a central point of contact for sightings of stranding events. It was agreed that Environment Officer Denise Blake was the person to call at 28483 (Penguin News)


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