When a beached whale appears it can be for many reasons. The point common to all of them is that he found himself too ill to stay afloat and decided to go to shallow water in search of some air to breathe. Those that vary are the reasons that led her to find herself like this. Sometimes it is simply a matter of health problems stemming from your age. Others, on the other hand, are the consequences of a malnutrition, caused by lack of food or accidents that prevent them from eating properly. In this regard, for example, there have been cases of whales that have appeared with large pieces of plastic in their digestive system. But that is not all. They may also have suffered injuries from being caught in fishing nets or colliding with boats.
The latter may seem almost impossible. How could a whale accidentally meet a boat in the vast ocean? Don’t they have room to swim without getting close to them? However, this is not so simple. In fact, as a picture is worth a thousand words, the Blue Whale Center in Chile has used data extracted from a Nature study to create a video that shows the real chaos these marine animals are subjected to to avoid the collisions with ships.
When avoiding ship collisions turns into torture
The study, published in early February in Nature, analyzed the anxious movements of a blue whale while trying to avoid collisions with ships in the waters of Patagonia.
The study used for the video analyzed the movements of a blue whale in Patagonia
Between March 22 and 29, the animal had several episodes in which it almost collided with boats. The result is a shocking video, which could be even worse, since only the heavy maritime traffic. If the pleasure craft had also been tracked, it might have been more disastrous.
All of this may seem implausible in a space as wide as the ocean. However, it should be noted that blue whales are unpredictable animals, spending a lot of time in the depths of the sea and abruptly emerging in search of food. Thus, they find themselves without prior notice ship propellers, whose bosses are not able to dodge them when they already have them on top.
Fortunately, the one that served as an example for this video managed to avoid collisions with ships during the time it was followed. However, others were not so lucky.
The case of Infinity and her baby
During the night of February 12, the captain of a fishing vessel reported that they had just collided with a whale near the entrance to St. Augustine, Florida.
The captain of the ship advised that they had collided with a whale, but there were two
The impact had caused the ingress of water into the boat and he had forced them to return to port earlier than planned to bring the crew to safety. There were no human injuries to mourn. But there was no sign of the whale. Thus began a search task, which ended with the sad discovery of a dead baby on a beach in Anastasia State Park. It was a copy of North Atlantic right whale, only one month old. Scientists at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC FWRI) Fish and Wildlife Research Institute knew who she was, as they had been tracking her mother for some time. Infinity.
Such a small calf could not be alone, unless something had happened to its mother, so possibly she was also there when the accident occurred. However, as is often the case with other ship collisions, in the dead of night the sailors did not see that it was actually two whales.
Investigators finally found Infinity on February 16 and their suspicions were confirmed by seeing that she was also injured. He had injuries, caused by ship propellers; although, luckily, they were not as serious as his son’s.
We must avoid possible complications for the whales
The appearance of Infinity alive is good news, within the tragedy. However, it will be important to tracing, since many times ship collisions do not cause worrisome injuries at first, but these end up being worsened by infections. Therefore, constant monitoring is being carried out to control the status of the lesions until they finish healing.
Wounds after ship collisions can become infected
Both this story and the study published in Nature highlight the need for implement measures to avoid this type of accident. For example, according to statements by the Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC) reproduced in IFLScience, the first step is to encourage studies that analyze the frequent whale migration routes. Once that is clear, it is advisable that vessels navigating these areas reduce their speed to about 10 knots, equivalent to 18.5 kilometers per hour. Thus, they will be able to react in time if they see whales and these will also be able to avoid them more easily.
Finally, these types of investigations are a good point to remember how to proceed when finding a stranded cetacean. They explained it recently from the Facebook account of the Equinac Association. These animals are not fish. They have lungs and need to surface to breathe. If they are too injured or ill to stay afloat, throwing them back into the water when they appear on a beach is dooming them a much more agonizing death. Therefore, whether due to boat collisions, injuries from fishing nets or malnutrition, if we find one of these animals on the beach, we must call 112 or to the emergency number of the country in question, to be sent to a specialized team. If this sad denouement could not be avoided, it is the only thing we can do to make it at least a little less tragic.
The article This video shows the agony of whales to avoid colliding with ships was published in Explica.co.