Yesterday another sperm whale was found lifeless in Belize's waters. This one was found in the Stann Creek District near the Silk Cayes. This becomes the 3rd whale to die in Belizean waters since 2016.
So what's causing the untimely deaths of these huge sea mammals? That's what we asked Oceana's Vice President Janelle Chanona today:
Janelle Chanona, Vice President at Oceana Belize
"We had a humpback whale die in April 2016 and one two and a half weeks ago that was I believe a baleen whale and now a sperm whale."
Sahar Vasquez, reporter
"What was the cause of death for that?"
"That's just the thing that um we have these incidents where um these whales have been either found dying or dead in Belizean waters um but there has never been a proper investigation or assessment to reach a definitive reason or conclusion as to what was the cause of death."
"Given that we are talking about three of these animals since 2016 I do think this latest incident highlights the reason for the marine stranding network and other entities to come together form a cohesive response so that we can determine what is causing these deaths."
"Do you think that one of the causes could possibly be pollution?"
"I think it is really highlighting that we need to determine if it is plastics doing this, boat strikes. We know that there is increased marine traffic. These whales travel significant distances or you know coming into collision paths with large shipping vessels like seismic activity we know that has been the cause for standings and negative outcomes with marine creatures on sea creatures on a whole. Especially whales and dolphins that depend on Sonar."
"There is mean to credit there are several people and organizations on people already that formed a marine stranding network already. So that group already exists but I think in terms of expanding it and increasing the resources at its disposal so that they can mobilize very quickly and there is a very short window of time of getting to the site of getting a response not just showing to see you know what's there but what's there but a proper response in place that's critical."
"We have several people that serve of you know experts in this area. Experts in this area. We have resources available that others can come in and advise us but I think we to take that important first step of identifying that as a priority."
The whale was a thirty-foot long male juvenile. Samples are being collected and other investigations are being done to try and find out what caused the whales death.
Something terrible is happening at sea. A second whale has been found in Belizean waters dead. According to Boat Captain Jason Westby, it's a juvenile sperm whale. He found it lifeless and floating near the Silk Cayes. It has been determined that the whale is a male measuring approximately 30' in lenght. Biological samples were collected today in an effort to help scientists determine a cause of death. There were no visible signs of cause of death on the decomposing carcass. New information suggests the whale was first spotted on Sunday, August 27th 2017. This incident is the third such death since April 2016 when a humpback whale died near Barranco in Southern Belize. Two weeks ago, a Baleen whale died shortly after being discovered by mariners in Southern waters. Video courtesy Jason Westby for Oceana Belize