Brownies support whales and dolphins

14 July 2017

Pilot Whales Rescued In Iceland

In Iceland, a country often tarnished by its continued fin and minke whale hunting, local people have been helping to rescue over 100 long-finned pilot whales that became trapped on the shoreline in western Iceland. Local Icelanders flocked to the scene to help save the whales.

A local sailor, Snorri Rafnsson first spotted this large pod of deep water whales swimming towards land and immediately went out to sea in his kayak to try and encourage them away from the shore. He said I knew what was happening, they would swim up to the shore and strand there. This has happened a few times since I was a kid.

Long-finned pilot whales

After a short while a local search and rescue team took over and managed to move the whales further from the shore. As is often the case with pilot whale strandings, the whales turned around and swam back towards the shore with five stranding on the beach, confused and wounded after hitting rocks.

A live whale or dolphin beached on the shore is almost always in danger of death. They are helpless on land and usually die within a few hours or days if it is impossible to help them back to sea.

Species like pilot whales have very strong social bonds and often follow a leader. They frequently strand in large groups when it appears that either a lead whale has made a navigational mistake or one individual has become sick or wounded and led the rest of the pod onto the shore. The bonds between the whales appear to be more important to them than their own safety.

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