Researchers in New Zealand are turning the unfortunate stranding and death of Arnoux’s beaked whales (Berardius arnuxii) into a great opportunity. The whales beached themselves at Sandy Point in Invercargill, New Zealand on Monday.
“A stranded animal, putting aside the sad aspect of its death, is a bit of a gift from the sea to help us understand the species a bit more,” said Professor Ewan Fordyce from the University of Otago. “Mostly these animals live and die at sea and we don’t get to look at them closely.”
Fordyce notes that these animals, first named in New Zealand in 1851, are rarely seen near the coast.
“Scientists don’t understand the species’ habits too much except they like deep water, feed on squid and may be able to dive to depths of more than one kilometre,” he explained.
Fordyce and a team of researchers will do an autopsy, collect samples and check the internal organs for any clear indications of why it died.
“The whales’ deaths are a tragedy and the scientific community is duty bound to try and learn as much as possible from an occurrence like this.”
To learn more:
- Check out this article: Beached whales ‘a gift’ for research group
- See some amazing photos and a cool video of Arnoux’s beaked whales from ARKive
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