Post-mortem for beached Cuviers Beaked whale

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© R.W. Baird/Cascadia Research Collective.
BREACHING SURFACE: Sudden rising up can lead to death in some whales.

A FIVE-METRE-LONG whale which washed up on the Benalmadena coastline earlier this month will have its body examined by the Ministry of Environment and Planning, and experts from the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria to discover the possible cause of death. 

Samples have also been taken and sent to the Cetacean Research Unit of the University Institute of Health for study by experts in pathology of cetaceans.

The whale in question is a Cuviers Beaked whale, a species considered ‘rare and infrequent’ and the scientists are eager to discover parallels in the deaths of two other stranded mammals of the same species which washed up on the coast of Doñana at roughly the same time. Beaked whales can dive at record depths of up to 3,000 metres and it is known that environmental changes at this extreme depth, such as underwater sonar signals, can cause the whales to rise suddenly, leading to multiple organ failure and subsequent death. 

However, an alternate theory points to the death in August of a large whale from eating large quantities of plastic. 

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