Largest Ever Graveyard Of Stranded Whales Found Along Chilean Coast

sei whales

The bodies and skeletal remains of 337 Sei whales have been found in a remote inlet in Patagonia in the Gulf of Penas and Puerto Natales.

The discovery of carcasses and remains of the endangered Sei whales along Chile’s southern Patagonia region is one of the largest whale strandings ever recorded, according to scientists.

CBC News reports:

Biologist Vreni Haussermann told The Associated Press Tuesday that she made the discovery along with other scientists in June during an observation flight over fjords in Chile’s southern Patagonia region. The team has been collecting samples since then.

“This is one of the largest strandings worldwide,” said Haussermann, the director of the Huinay Scientific Field Station, which focuses on marine research. She declined to disclose the conclusions, which will be published by a scientific journal later this year.

The scientific expedition counted 305 bodies and 32 skeletons of whales through aerial and satellite photography in the remote Aysen area between the Gulf of Penas and Puerto Natales. The cause of death of the sei whales is unknown, but human intervention has been ruled out.sei whales

Whale strandings are common in Aysen, a region of southern Patagonia where rainfall is nearly constant and rivers plunge from Andean glaciers to the Pacific Ocean through green valleys and fjords.

Probably died at sea

“They probably died at sea, we don’t know exactly where, but they didn’t just die by stranding,” said Carolina Simon Gutstein, a paleontologist at University of Chile who was part of the team.

Sei, humpback and blue whales, which belong to the rorquals family, are the largest group of baleen whales, and “are not normally seen gathering in large groups,” Gutstein said.

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