Eight dead sperm whales found on German beach

February 1, 2016
This undated picture released by the state company of protection of the sea, shore and national park of Schleswig Holstein (LKN.
This undated picture released by the state company of protection of the sea, shore and national park of Schleswig Holstein (LKN.SH) shows dead sperm whales ashore at the Kaiser Wilhelm Koog in Schleswig Holstein, northern Germany

Eight dead sperm whales have washed up on a German beach, just weeks after 12 of the giant mammals were found dead at other sites on the North Sea, officials said Monday.

The eight found near the northern town of Friedrichskoog were young bulls, around the same age as the animals discovered three weeks ago at various North Sea spots.

They were lying close to each other in the mudflats of a restricted area of the Wadden Sea national park, the Schleswig-Holstein regional environmental authority said in a statement.

Since the 1990s, a total of 82 wales have been found stranded in the Wadden Sea in Denmark, the Netherlands and Germany.

The sperm whale is the largest of the toothed whales, and the largest toothed predator.

It can measure up to 20 metres (67 feet) long and weigh over 50 tonnes.

"The males of this population spend their winters in the north Atlantic," the authority said.

"During their migrations, individual animals mistakenly wind up in the shallow and nutrient-poor North Sea."

The makes it difficult for them to use their acoustic orientation to navigate and many become beached.

Wildlife protection groups also blame the underwater noise from sea traffic and oil platforms for interfering with acoustic signals.

Explore further: Two more sperm whales wash up dead on Dutch beach

Related Stories

Two more sperm whales wash up dead on Dutch beach

January 14, 2016

Two more sperm whales became stranded and died on the Dutch coast a day after five others, likely from the same pod, lost their lives nearby in a rare North Sea beaching, experts said Thursday.

Five sperm whales stranded on Dutch beach

January 13, 2016

Five sperm whales were stranded on a Dutch beach on Tuesday, leading local authorities to urge people to stay away in order not to further distress the giant mammals.

Four dead sperm whales wash up on British beaches

January 24, 2016

Four dead sperm whales have washed up on beaches in eastern England, coastguard authorities said Sunday, a week after similar deaths across the North Sea in Germany and the Netherlands.

Mediterranean sperm whales show great size variation

December 16, 2015

An analysis of Mediterranean sperm whale 'clicks' suggests that individuals range from 7.5 to 14 meters long, according to a study published Dec. 9, 2015 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Francesco Caruso from the University ...

Recommended for you

Protein disrupts infectious biofilms

December 8, 2016

Many infectious pathogens are difficult to treat because they develop into biofilms, layers of metabolically active but slowly growing bacteria embedded in a protective layer of slime, which are inherently more resistant ...

An anti-CRISPR for gene editing

December 8, 2016

Researchers have discovered a way to program cells to inhibit CRISPR-Cas9 activity. "Anti-CRISPR" proteins had previously been isolated from viruses that infect bacteria, but now University of Toronto and University of Massachusetts ...

The song of silence

December 8, 2016

Like humans learning to speak, juvenile birds learn to sing by mimicking vocalizations of adults of the same species during development. Juvenile birds preferentially learn the song of their own species, even in noisy environments ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.