Why do whales beach themselves? We’re partially to blame.
From deceptive tidal patterns to noise pollution and overfishing, there are many reasons why whales—sometimes hundreds at a time—suddenly find themselves on land.
Every year thousands of whales, dolphins, and other marine animals wash up on beaches around the world. This phenomenon—called beaching or stranding—occurs among both healthy individuals as well as injured (or dead) animals that are driven ashore by prevailing winds. Sometimes a group of marine animals beach themselves together in what are known as mass strandings, and other times a region might see an unusual number of strandings over a period of time.
In the United Kingdom, the Zoological Society of London’s Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme (CSIP) has logged more than 12,000 stranded cetaceans since 1990. High-profile events—such as the 2015 stranding of more than 300 sei whales in southern Chile’s