January 29, 2016 Issue

In Focus

North Sea Ailing

Texel Island, the Netherlands—Three out of five beached sperm whales are pictured on January 13; all of them died after being stranded for several hours. According to the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, a group beaching is especially rare in the Netherlands, as the North Sea is too shallow for the deep-diving mammals. Sperm whales can measure up to 60 feet and weigh up to 50 tons. Officials are investigating what caused the whales to be stranded. In the same week, dozens of short-finned pilot whales were beached in Tamil Nadu, India, and at least 73 died.
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