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Dying on the beach or living in the sea

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The exact reason why some groups of cetaceans strand on beaches is unknown; it is believed that prehistoric humans took advantage of these strandings to obtain meat. Even Aristotle said, “It is not known why they get stranded on the shore of the sea, perhaps because a whim traps them for no apparent reason.”

The fact is that mass strandings of cetaceans are more common among animals that live in large families and in open seas, such as the pilot whales in the photo. There are many varied theories attempting to explain this behavior, ranging from mass suicide to regulate species to a disorder in the middle ear, and even theories related to extraterrestrial visits. The truth is that only they know the reason why they end up stranded on the sand.

It is common for many people to come to their aid and help them return to the sea. Often, the spirits of the volunteers are broken when the animal, once freed, returns to the beach to strand again. It is believed to be related to a group behavior. The stranded animal desires to rejoin its family and accompany them in their fate. Significant results have been achieved by gathering surviving animals in open seas, where they regroup and do not strand again. Undoubtedly, mass strandings are tragically spectacular. In New Zealand, in 1985, over 400 pilot whales died, while in 1986, Australia managed to successfully return 96 false killer whales out of a total of 114 stranded, back to the sea. In 1999, off the coast of Canelones, Uruguay, 27 false killer whales stranded, of which 17 were successfully returned to the sea alive. The largest number of dead animals in a stranding event worldwide was recorded in the city of Mar del Plata in 1946, where 835 false killer whales stranded and died.

Today, humans are learning more about animals, their habits, and how to assist them in circumstances like accidental strandings. The premise is to urgently notify the authorities, keep the animals wet, and never consider the possibility of euthanasia.

“You cannot defend what you do not love, and you cannot love what you do not know.”