Sunday, September 23, 2007

Three pantropical spotted dolphins die in mass stranding

Live fire exercise, Matsu Islands, July 2006.

Taiwan has an abnormally high rate of cetacean strandings. Military activities, such as the use of sonar and live fire exercises, have often been suspected to be the reason behind many of these strandings. Such military activities clearly pose a threat to the Taiwan humpback dolphins. If military activities played any part in yesterday's strandings of about 20 dolphins on a beach in Bali, Taipei County, remains to be seen. There have been military exercises in the Taiwan Strait recently involving Taiwan's new Kidd-Class destroyers and these destroyers have the infamous 53C sonar. See the picture, Laid to rest, in today's Taipei Times. (What is disturbing is that the dead dolphins have been buried rather than handed over to competent scientists to try and determine the cause of death. Also, a Rough-toothed dolphin stranded in Taitung yesterday.)

Also see: Military Practice in Taiwan may be the cause of abnormal cetacean stranding for more on unusual cetacean strandings.

Taiwan shows off new warship in Strait maneuvers

* Chinese news media are reporting that nine dolphins died. TV coverage shows seven dead dolphins.

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