Final report of the Independent Scientific Review Panel investigating potential contributing factors to a 2008 mass stranding of melon-­‐headed whales (Peponocephala electra) in Antsohihy, Madagascar

TitleFinal report of the Independent Scientific Review Panel investigating potential contributing factors to a 2008 mass stranding of melon-­‐headed whales (Peponocephala electra) in Antsohihy, Madagascar
Publication TypeReport
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsSouthall, B.L., Rowles T., Gulland F., Baird R. W., and Jepson P.D.
InstitutionInternational Whaling Commission
EndNote Rec Number10686
Abstract

A highly unusual event involving the long-­‐term displacement and mass stranding of approximately 100 melon-­‐headed whales (Peponocephala electra) occurred in May-­‐June 2008 in the Loza Lagoon system in northwest Madagascar. This typically open-­‐ocean cetacean species had never previously nor since been reported in this shallow tidal estuarine system, nor in any other in Madagascar, although previous strandings of this species in embayments have been documented. A coordinated effort was organized for response to live animals, and to collect information through physical samples from stranded animals and a structured interview process. This mass stranding response involved local officials and citizens, conservation organizations, oil and gas exploration companies working in the area, and international marine mammal experts. Despite the remote location of the stranding event and the challenging logistics of operations, field efforts were mounted within days and a significant amount of information about the stranding event was collected.