[MARMAM] New atypical mass stranding of Cuvier’s beaked whales (Ziphius cavirostris sp.) in Southern Crete, Greece.

ARION arion at arion.org.gr
Tue Apr 1 23:27:30 PDT 2014

Dear All,

On April 1st, 2014, the Hellenic Ministry of Environment was alerted by 
the Port Authority of Ierapetra at Southern Crete, Greece and contacted 
Dr . Anastasia Komnenou, Veterinarian and Professor of the Veterinary 
School of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and President 
of the Cetacean Rescue and Rehabilitation Research Center - ARION, that 
there is a mass stranding of whales at the broader area of Ierapetra in 
Southern Crete, Greece.

Dr. Komnenou made the necessary contacts with the local port authorities 
to learn more details and collaborated with Dr . Aimilia Drougas, 
Oceanographer and Cetacean Rescue and Rehabilitation Research Center - 
ARION Scientific Coordinator and with Dr . Alexandros Frantzis 
Biologist-Oceanographer of the Pelagos Cetacean Research Institute and 
agreed to let Dr. Michael Spyridakis, Veterinarian and member of ARION’s 
network of veterinarians to go in situ, for an autopsy and to collect 
data that will help to understand the cause of this event.

First  indications show that two adult Cuvier’s beaked whales (Ziphius 
cavirostris sp.) were stranded alive during noon time, at Kastri beach, 
Viannou which is located about 15 km west of Ierapetra. The whales 
seemed unstable and banged towards the rocks near the beach. With the 
effort of local residents the two whales were led to the open sea and 
slowly they left. At the same time, three other beaked whales (two 
adults and one younger in age which we do not know if they were the same 
animals) stranded alive showing similar symptoms, at the rocky coast of 
Kalikovrechti, located about 2 km west of Ierapetra. The port 
authorities and local residents managed to lead the youngest and one of 
the adult whale to the open sea. The third adult Cuvier’s beaked whale 
died and necropsy will be done, in order to collect tissue samples for 
verifying the cause of death.

We also note that these days, in the broader region, there are 
tri-lateral exercises of Greece, Israel and NATO’s navy using sonars. 
Ziphiidae ear drums are affected from the low frequency sonars by air 

Given the seriousness of the situation and because in the past they have 
been and other similar mass strandings of Cuvier’s beaked whales, on 
coasts of western and southern Greece, the incident is monitored by the 
Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 
the Hellenic Marine Research Centre, the Institute of Cetacean Research 
, Pelagos  and the Cetacean Rescue and Rehabilitation Research Center - 

Local authorities and local residents and volunteers of Southern Crete, 
have been alerted and ready in the coming hours and days, to immediately 
notify the port authorities and the above organizations, in case other 
marine mammals strand on the coast of the broader region.

Best wishes,
Aimilia Drougas and Anastasia Komnenou
Dr. Aimilia Drougas, Biologist, Geologist Oceanographer
Scientific Coordinator
ARION-Cetacean Rescue and Rehabilitation Research Center
Limenas, Nea Moudania
63200  Chalkidiki, GREECE
Tel.: +30-6945-644994, +30-213-0067257-8
e-mail:    arion at arion.org.gr
website: http://www.arion.org.gr
F/B:          http://www.facebook.com/ARION.org

Dr. Anastasia Komnenou, DVM, PhD
Anastasia Komnenou, DVM, PhD,
Associate  Professor, Comparative  Ophthalmology- Exotic and Wildlife 
Medicine Unit,
Animal Hospital, School of Veterinary Medicine
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki,
St. Voutyra 11, 546-27
Thessaloniki, Greece
Tel.: +30-6945-531850, +30-2130-994443
e-mail:    natakomn at vet.auth.gr

More information about the MARMAM mailing list