Local hunters in Greenland have reported seeing an unusual number of dead and stranded large whales along Greenland coasts, with no indications of an immediate reason for their deaths.
In one sighting, a pod of eight large but unidentified whales, which was seen alive in late March, was later seen dead north of Sisimiut and with decaying carcasses eventually seen floating among ice floes further north. Other reports had been received of a humpback and a sperm whale that had beached in separate areas. Both of these animals had died recently and were not in decay.
“It has unfortunately not been possible to get further information about the sightings and we have not been able to get samples or photographs of the dead whales,” the Greenland Department of Fisheries, Hunting and Agriculture said in a release Monday.
The department said it was working closely with the Greenland Nature Institute in order to get further information that could give some indication as to why the whales had died.
It added that the reason for the deaths could largely be put into three categories. External reasons, including killer whale attacks, a collision with a vessel or fishing nets wrapped around the body; seismic oil prospecting or military sonar activity in the region or finally death from sickness.
The department says, however, that there have been no reports of large numbers of dead animals of other species either in Greenland waters or in neighbouring countries.