“We were on a family walk when suddenly…”

"We were on a family walk when suddenly..."

This species is rarely seen on the Belgian coast as it usually lives in deep water. However, strandings of beaked whales have increased in recent years.

“On Monday, we went on a family trip on my boat from De Panne. Suddenly we saw a large dolphin-like animal approaching the boat,” Floris told Het Latste News.

Beaked whales are found all over the world, but always in deep water. They are the longest and deepest diving mammals. They can stay underwater longer than sperm whales and dive to a depth of 2,000 meters.

“Their echolocation system is perfect for this. They can swim in deep water but not in shallow water. That’s why they have no place in the North Sea,” explains Jan Helters, a marine biologist at the IRNSB.

However, these very large marine animals have been increasingly seen in our area in recent years. Jan Helters even talks a “Peak.” The exact cause of this phenomenon is not known, but there are several possible causes.

“Cases of large drifts are clearly related to human activities that cause significant underwater noise pollution. Then they get disoriented and suffer physical damage,” Helters says.

It is also not clear whether it is a single individual or several. Either way, these animals have very little chance of surviving in our waters. In most cases, beaked whales wash ashore and die because they often go weeks without food. So they arrive very weak.

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