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Nine Whales Stranded in Eastfjords

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Nine Whales Stranded in Eastfjords

Whale Watching tour guides coming to the rescue of a beached bottlenose whale earlier this month on Engey island just off the Reykjavík coastline. Photo: Screenshot via RÚV

Three stranded whales have been reported this week in the Eastfjords, Austurfrétt reports. A carcass was found in northern Reyðarfjörður earlier in the week, believed to be that of a Curvier’s beaked whale. The species is rarely seen in Icelandic waters. A bottlenose whale was reported stranded in Berufjörður yesterday. The species of the third whale, stranded in Barðsnes, is yet to be confirmed.

Nine whales have been stranded so far this year between Vopnafjörður and Hornafjörður fjords in East Iceland. The number is believed to be unusually high. Gísli Víkingsson, a whale expert at the Marine and Freshwater Research Institute, says it is difficult to say what is causing the increase in such incidents.

“Bottlenose whales and Curvier’s beaked whales are members of the family Ziphiidae and it’s often been said that they are more sensitive to noise pollution in the ocean, in particular to explosions from military exercises or oil and gas exploration.” Gísli says, however, that the stranding could also be attributable to illness or a failure in the animals’ echolocation, which they use to navigate.

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