[MARMAM] Mass stranding of sperm whales in southern Italy

Giovanni Bearzi giovanni.bearzi at gmail.com
Mon Dec 14 02:53:55 PST 2009

With reference to an earlier message sent by Giuseppe, I would like to
inform you that an updated photo album as well as a low-resolution video of
two agonising sperm whales can be viewed at:


The event is gaining momentum:



Giovanni Bearzi

Giovanni Bearzi, Ph.D.

President, Tethys Research Institute
Viale G.B Gadio 2, 20121 Milano, Italy

Da: Giuseppe Notarbartolo di Sciara <disciara at GMAIL.COM>
Oggetto: [ECS-TALK] Rare atypical mass stranding of sperm whales in the
Mediterranean Sea

Between Thursday 10 and Friday 11 December a  pod of seven sperm whales
stranded on the coast of the Gargano Peninsula (Italy), in the Southern
Adriatic Sea.  The animals ­ including several males of 10+ m - are
scattered along a stretch of about six km of beach; five have already died.
Bystanders reported that two more animals were able to regain deep waters,
however this is currently unconfirmed.

Mass strandings of sperm whales are extremely rare in the Mediterranean, and
limited to ancient times. These include a stranding of 16, reported near
Mazzara del Vallo (Sicily) in 1734, and a stranding of six occurred near
Cittanova d¹Istria, northern Adriatic Sea, in 1853.

Scientists from the Centro Studi Cetacei, the Natural History Museum of
Milan, and the Italian universities of Bari, Padua (Sandro Mazzariol, also
member of the ACCOBAMS emergency task force), Pavia, Siena, and Las Palmas
(Spain), among others, are on site since this morning and coordinate
operations and scientific analyses. Necropsies will hopefully help
determining whether such atypical stranding might be connected with the
presence of specific human activities likely to be hazardous to cetaceans in
the area.
Some photos of the mass stranding event, taken on Saturday 12th between
10:45 AM and 1:45 PM, can be viewed from the web page below:

Giuseppe   Notarbartolo   di   Sciara
Chair, ACCOBAMS Scientific Committee
giuseppe at disciara.net  -  www.accobams.org <http://www.accobams.org>

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