There are so many reasons, and people spend a lot of time and energy on discussing possible answers at lengths.
Some reasons we humans came up with, just to name a few:
- topographic reasons - there are studies made at a gently sloping beach in Australia/Tasmania similar to the Farewell Spit region (NZ) that show how the echolocation of whales doesn’t function properly = it is easy for animals to loose orientation and get confused & strand as a consequence. Farewell Spit in NZ has always been a tricky location for whales.
- solar storms & changes of the earth’s magnetic field – NASA is currently investigating this
- tidal currents that cause inexperienced or sick animals to strand
- extreme weather conditions (climate change)
- geomagnetic anomalies
- noise pollution – causes stress, blocks communication, makes whales loose orientation
- social bonds - if one individual strands the pod follows the distress calls and beach themselves, too
- warming of the oceans – rising water temperatures affect sound transmission and food supply
- hunger/mal-nutrition - following fish and other food sources into shallow waters, inexperienced animals strand as a consequence, overfishing plays a role, mal-nutrition causes mal-functioning of echolocation & other body functions
- plastic pollution – whales have been found with their bellies full of plastic or other rubbish = affects their health and balance
- seismic testing & military LFS activity
All the above reasons are more or less well scientifically researched and “likely”. Some can be influenced by humans, some are created by humans - and others not.
Animal communicators, including myself, also receive messages in correlation with strandings.
For the last 6 years, I continuously get messages from the whales that are quite disturbing (I described one here). The images and feelings I receive are intense and show how the whales (might) feel. As on land, life in the oceans becomes more and more affected by the current shifts and transitions that we can observe everywhere on this planet. The imbalances, of course, affect not only creatures living on land, but have an increasingly devastating effect on ocean habitat, too. The whales bring important messages about this effect if we choose to listen.
We play around a lot with researching, analysing and discussing potential reasons while treating the symptoms (strandings) and intensifying emergency care (rescue efforts, Project Jonah, DOC). I am not saying this is all in vain. However, I feel deeply concerned about the lack of complimentary and/or alternative approaches – and often the active resistance against “outside-the-box” solutions and new ways of doing and being, like involving animal communicators, shamans and other intuitive and wise humans to directly communicate and connect with the whales and exploring preventive measures (e.g. divert whales with underwater sound recordings), for instance. This would mean that we promote change and take action – and deal with the potential consequences of human-created effects proactively. Sometimes, it seems that we choose “same old same old” because it seems easier (cheaper, faster, more predictable and familiar, etc) than exploring new terrain…
There are hundreds of scientific papers, research studies, articles – here a very few selected links for a first overview. Also check out www.oceancare.org, www.oceanmammalinst.com and www.terramarresearch.org.
google research by Linda Weilgart & Marsha Green