Sad news: nzherald.co.nz reported today that a young female Orca has died after being stranded near the Whangaparaoa Peninsula approximately 25 km north of Auckland. A necropsy will be performed at Massey University's Albany campus to determine the cause of death, however, it appears that the Orca was emaciated.
Did you ever wonder why stranding seems to be such a pervasive and tragic ending to the lives of so many whales and dolphins. Clearly there is evidence that sonar from navy ships is a contributing factor, especially in mass stranding. However, at least in the case of a single stranding, I sometimes wonder that when a whale or dolphin senses the end is near, they choose to strand themselves rather than face the alternatives.
There are a million ways for a mammal to die and we, the arrogant and ignoble two-legged variety, are directly responsible for the deaths of countless millions of other mammals each year; including those with two- and four-legs as well as flippers and fins. However, if I were an Orca roaming wild and free, (NOT trapped at Sea World) and I felt the cold fingers of death approaching, I think I would choose the lesser evil of dying alone on some sandbar or mud bank rather than drown or be torn apart by sharks. Wouldn't you?