Did Man Cause This?
The site where several dead whales were found washed up on a beach in England has turned into the unlikely scene of a protest that is angering locals this week. But could their graffitied words unite this isolated incident with a bigger cause?
It all started over the weekend when three beached whales were found in Skegness, England, a small seaside town in Lincolnshire, on England’s east coast along the North Sea. Though male sperm whales are known to travel north to Iceland and Norway, the North Sea poses a danger to the mammals because of its relatively shallow depths.
Marine experts on the scene have since declared that the whales, which now number five in total, were already dead before they washed ashore, likely due to malnourishment in the shallows of the North Sea.
What protestors did next has the locals reeling.
As the whales began to wash up, locals and tourists immediately flocked to the beach to see the behemoths in person. Many onlookers took advantage of the rare situation for a photo opportunity.
Marine animal beaching, called cetacean stranding, is not uncommon, especially for sperm whales. Studies estimate that upwards of 2,000 sperm whales beach themselves each year, with the majority of cases ending in death.
Because sperm whales are very social and travel in pods, they are more likely than solitary species to travel into dangerous situations together and beach en masse. Throughout northern Europe this past week, more than fifteen beached whales have been found, prompting scientists to wonder if they all came from the same pod in the North Sea.