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article imageForty-six black killer whales stranded in southern Chile, 20 died

By Igor I. Solar     Feb 26, 2013 in Environment
Punta Arenas - Forty-six black killer whales stranded Sunday afternoon in the Strait of Magellan, Chile; 20 of them died despite intense efforts by local fishermen, Navy personnel and scientists who tried to save them and return them to sea.
For reasons unknown, a pod of about 50 black killer whales, also known as "false orcas", run aground on a beach in the area of the Second Narrows of the Strait of Magellan, about 90 kilometers north of the Chilean city of Punta Arenas.
A group of fishermen alerted the authorities about the presence of the cetaceans. Personnel of the Navy and Maritime Police traveled to the location and worked with fishermen attempting to assist the whales and return them back to the sea.
According to the most recent reports, the number of stranded whales reached 46, of which 26 made it back to the sea with the help of fishermen and by the action of rubber boats of the Navy Patrol. Unfortunately, 20 of the larger whales died.
A second Navy vessel, the General Service Boat (GSB) "Punta Arenas", was also assigned to perform maneuvers in the area to prevent other whales from running aground.
Researchers of the Chilean Antarctic Institute (INACH), the Center for Quaternary Studies, Fuego-Patagonia and Antarctica (CEQUA) and of the University of Magallanes (UMAG), travelled to the Second Narrows to collaborate in the efforts to save the whales and collect samples from the specimens for scientific purposes.
Map of the southern tip of South America  showing the Strait of Magellan. The black arrow indicates ...
Map of the southern tip of South America, showing the Strait of Magellan. The black arrow indicates the location of the Strait's Second Narrows, the place where the whales run aground (Lat. 52' 40'' S).
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The false killer whale (Pseudorca crassidens) is a cetacean, similar to the true killer whale (Orcinus orca), and the third largest member of the oceanic dolphin family. They have a wide distribution in tropical and temperate waters of the world’s oceans, however they are rarely found at latitudes higher than 50° in both hemispheres. Depending on gender, adults of the species can measure from 3 to 6 meters and weight between 1,000 and 2,000 kilos.
More about False killer whales, Punta Arenas, Strait of Magellan, Chilean Navy, Fishermen
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