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Ten pilot whales stranded and died

15.09.2020 - 12:43
 Mynd: Elsa María Guðlaugs Drífudót - RÚV
Ten pilot whales stranded this weekend on the north of the Snæfellsnes peninsula in West Iceland. Despite rescue efforts, all ten have now been confirmed dead.

Rescue workers managed to pull one whale back to the sea, but it was found dead further up the shore on Monday evening.

The West Iceland Natural History Institute received a call from the police about a whale in difficulty on the east of Álftafjörður. Two marine biologists went to the scene to assist the whales but most were already dead when they arrived—including a very young calf. 

Jón Einar Jónsson from the University of Iceland research centre on Snæfellsnes, says he cannot say for sure why the whales entered the fjord. “It is likely that they got lost and maybe were already in trouble; maybe had some trouble with the calf. This really is the worst possible place for pilot whales that you can imagine, because it is really shallow and the depth is just a few metres on spring tides.” 

This is the first recorded case of whales beaching in Álftafjörður. Jón Einar says strandings have become more common in recent years—possibly because whales are taking more risks looking for food. That behaviour could be linked to changing conditions in the ocean environment, he adds. 

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