Dutch whales beached because of NATO war games?


This video is called Navy Sonar & Whales.

First, a humpback whale beached on Noorderhaaks desert island in the Netherlands.

A few days later, a dead sperm whale stranded on the same island.

There has been a lot of attention to attempts to save the humpback’s life, which ultimately did not succeed.

Another issue: why did these two whales beach so soon after each other, on the same island?

On his blog, Arjan Berkhuysen, director of the Wadden sea conservation organisation, discusses this question.

He writes that shortly before the beachings, there were NATO war games in the Wadden sea region. Military planes broke the sound barrier. The sound of these war games may have disoriented the whales. Like navy sonar causes whale deaths.

There is still no scientific consensus on why humpback Johanna and the sperm whale beached on Noorderhaaks.

Dutch humpback map: here.

Dutch humpback whale was female


The humpback whale on a Noorderhaaks island sandbar

Translated from Dutch news agency ANP:

December 18, 2012 5:04 p.m.

Humpback ‘Johannes’ is a female

TEXEL – The humpback whale which stranded and died on a sandbank near Texel was a female.

A spokeswoman for Naturalis Biodiversity Center, which investigates the animal, said so.

The beached whale was at one point called ‘Johannes’. This happened when it was alive and the sex could not yet be determined.

The investigation into the cause of death has not yet come to a conclusion. ”On the outside of the body no damage was found, for example, signs of a collision with a ship. Also, our first examination of the intestines has not established a cause yet” said the spokeswoman.

Samples of the animal will be subjected to microscopic examination.

The whale is called Johanna now, instead of Johannes (John in English).

A photo series is here.

This is a Dutch video about the investigation of the dead humpback whale.

In parliament, Minister Kamp has admitted that the government made mistakes after this whale beached; and that there should be improvements.

Dutch humpback whale in Texel harbour


This video is called Humpback Whale Song.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

Humpback Johannes in Texel harbour

Tuesday, December 18, 2012, 00:26

Humpback Johannes has been towed to the port of the research institute NIOZ on Texel. Rijkswaterstaat staff made ​​use of the flood and refloated the dead animal, tying its tail to a pontoon boat.

It now floats in the port. Tomorrow a crane will hoist it ashore. There the whale will be investigated by research institute Naturalis.

The humpback whale was confirmed to be dead on Sunday. The animal had stranded last Wednesday on a sandbank. Attempts by Ecomare to rescue the animal had failed.

A photo of the whale being towed is here.

Naturalis museum on the stranded humpback: here.

Ecomare museum on the humpback: here.

This is a Dutch regional TV video, on transporting the dead humpback to Texel.

Update: on Tuesday night, a ship will try to bring the dead sperm whale to the harbour as well.

Sperm whale update: here.

Beached sperm whale, humpback videos update


This is a video recorded at Noorderhaaks island near Texel, the Netherlands, about an attempt to save the beached humpback whale Johannes. The video is from 13 December. The whale died yesterday, 16 December. The video shows two lifeboats trying to move the whale to deeper water, after a fairway had been dug.

This video is about the dead sperm whale, which beached on the same island days after the humpback whale.

Dead sperm whale update: here.

Beached humpback whale Johannes, RIP


The beached humpback whale, photo ANP

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

Sunday, December 16, 2012, 09:30

The humpback whale which beached this Wednesday on a sandbank in the Wadden Sea is dead. Two employees of the seal rehabilitation center in Pieterburen have reported this.

The people of Lenie ‘t Hart [director of the seal rehabilitation center] had gone to the humpback trying to still save it. They did so despite a police ban area around the whale.

Last Friday the whale Johannes got a strong sedative after experts had stated that the animal could not survive anymore. Animal activists think that the government gave up on the animal much too soon.

See also here. And here.

This reminds me of years ago, when I was in the Antarctic. I saw a humpback whale jumping out of the sea.

RIP, Johannes! And thanks to all people of Ecomare museum, coast guard, lifeboats and others who tried to save you!

No thanks it all, it seems, to Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and his government.

Ecomare museum on the death of the humpback whale: here.

Dutch stranded sperm whale, video


This is a video about the Dutch sperm whale, beached today on Noorderhaaks island, north of the humpback whale which had beached earlier.