Mass death of Melon-Headed Whales in South East Mauritius.

On 26 August 2020 in the Bambou Virieux area in the South East of Mauritius. The local population reported the presence of several dead cetaceans in the lagoon accompanied by a group of 150 to 200 live animals. These animals were later identified as Melon-Headed Whales Péponocéphale electra (Gray, 1846).

This is not a case of marine mammal strandings, which are sometimes confused and lose their sense of orientation. These disorientation situations can be caused by factors of various origins such as terrestrial magnetic disturbances, seismic activities, exposure to sound waves or intense shocks caused by sonar or explosions, etc.

The animals that came to die in the lagoon were, in some cases, severely injured and had abrasion marks on parts of their bodies or fractures in their jaws. Most of the animals were found dead in the lagoon in deep water and a few individuals were found on the shore as shown in the picture.

Analyses and studies are underway to determine the cause of this mass death, which is the third time in 40 years (1993, 2005 and 2020).


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