Monday, 13 February 2023
Nine Cuvier’s beaked whales were discovered on beaches in both north and south Cyprus, Kibris Postasi reports.
A statement issued by Taskent Nature Park said the following:
“On February 9, 2023, the Cyprus Wildlife Research Institute Rescue Team received a call about the presence of a marine mammal stranded on the shore. Upon reaching the site, our experts identified it to be a beaked whale (Ziphius cavirostris). When the animal was checked in a short time, first 2 km offshore, and the second time 7km out to sea, it hit the land again each time.
“Unfortunately, this individual would turn out to be just one of a total of nine individuals who would be stranded in Cyprus on the same and the following days. During the night and the next day, four whales were reported in the north of Cyprus’ west coast and five in the south.
“In the north, accompanied by the Coast Guard, the Municipality of Lefke, the police and volunteers in the area, our team has spent endless hours helping these animals, in constant consultation with the Environmental Protection Agency and experts from within Cyprus and abroad. Similar efforts were made in the south with three initially ‘rescued’ whales, but they were also returned to shore. Despite all efforts, none of the nine beaked whales were saved”.
Autopsies are being held on the animals to try and discover why they became beached.
There are theories that the whales’ navigation systems may have been confused by the recent earthquakes which occurred in Turkey, shock waves from military exercises, or sonar and noise from exploratory seabed drilling, all of which can cause stress and disorientation to cetaceans which rely largely on their sense of hearing and communicate with each through high-frequency echolocation.