For centuries, whales, dolphins and porpoises (collectively known as cetaceans) have stranded around the UK coast. But why do strandings occur and how many might be due to our activities?
Scientists at ZSL help to coordinate a collaborative research programme called the Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme (CSIP), which has been studying stranding events since 1990. It carries out detailed and systematic post-mortem examinations on stranded marine species, to try to discover how they have died and from these investigations, learn more about the threats they face in UK waters.
Last year marked the 25th anniversary of the programme and to mark this occasion, ZSL hosted a special evening event on Tuesday 17th May, where the results of the programme were presented. Information on the 12000+ strandings and nearly 3500 post-mortem examinations conducted by the CSIP were discussed.
Presentations were given on the major findings of the programme, including by-catch (accidental entanglement in fishing gear), ship-strike, violent interspecific aggression, the impacts of marine pollution and cases of a condition similar to decompression sickness in humans. Learn more about what may cause strandings and what we have learnt from research on these events over the last 25 years.
Chaired by Rob Deaville, UK Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme, ZSL.
The UK Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme is co-funded by Defra and the Devolved Governments in Scotland and Wales. For more information about the programme please visit: www.ukstrandings.org