More than 100 melon-headed whales, or electra dolphins, were found dead on a beach in Japan this morning.
The town of Hokota, 60 miles from Tokyo, woke us this morning, Friday, April 10, to a somber sight. At least 150 melon-headed whales, or electra dolphins, were found beached on the shore. Many of them had cuts and deep gashes but the ultimate reason for this mass beaching is unclear.
Good Samaritans from the town have been transporting water to pour over the dolphins in an attempt to save them. Only three were able to be returned to the water and potentially will survive.
The melon-headed whale is a deep sea dolphin that can grow up to nine feet long. They are commonly found in Japanese waters.
In 2011, 50 melon-headed whales were found beached nearby to the beach in Hokota. The reason for these beachings is unclear but Tadasu Yamadao, a researcher at the National Museum of Nature and Science, suggests they may have lost their sense of direction.
“Sonar waves the dolphins emit might have been absorbed in the shoals, which could cause them to lose their sense of direction,” he told the Yomiuri Shimbun.
Although Japan’s relationship with whales and dolphins is notoriously cruel, with the annual dolphin slaughter that occurs in the whaling town Taiji, it is encouraging to see the people from Hokota trying to save these beached whales.