NHK, Apr. 10, 2015 (emphasis added): About 160 dolphins washed ashore on a beach in Ibaraki [50 miles south of Fukushima border]… A local aquarium says this type of dolphin… is usually found in deeper waters. It says it is unusual for so many to be washed ashore.
Japan Times, Apr 11, 2015: 149 melon-headed whales [washed up] in Hokota. Seven more were stranded in nearby municipality of Kashima.
AFP, Apr 10, 2015: Television footage showed several animals from the large pod had been badly cut, and many had deep gashes… “We see one or two whales washing ashore a year, but this may be the first time we have found over 100 of them on a beach,” a coastguard official told AFP… Several animals were writhing in a futile effort to move.
Inquisitr, Apr 10, 2015: A Japanese coast guard official has said that he is witnessing this phenomenon for the first time in his life… According to BBC News, these species of dolphins are usually only found in the deep waters of the ocean. It is extremely rare for them to show themselves up on the beach… this might be the biggest single case of mass beaching of dolphins that have been reported from Japan… This case of dolphins beaching themselves is eerily similar to another phenomenon that has been noted recently… young sea lion pups ending up on the beach – starving and dazed.
Mainichi, Apr 11, 2015: Kashima Coast Guard station transported and released three of the melon-headed whales… but most of the dolphins died and were buried on the beach… According to Toshiya Kishiro, head of the whale resources group at the National Research Institute of Far Seas Fisheries… a possible reason for this most recent beaching is that the dolphins had parasites in their inner ears.
AP, Apr 10, 2015: Tadasu Yamada, a cetacean expert at the National Museum of Nature and Science [said] the dolphins may have had a physiological or psychological problem and faced an unknown threat and panicked…
Yamada: “We don’t see any immediate signs of diseases on their bodies, such as cancer. We want to figure out what killed these animals.”
Slate, Apr 10, 2015: Many animals that become stranded are later found to be ill.
AFP, Apr 11, 2015: The mass beaching… has fuelled fears of a repeat of [the 2011] earthquake… a flurry of online commentators pointed to the appearance of around 50 melon-headed whales… six days prior to the monster quake… More than 100 pilot whales died in a mass stranding on a remote New Zealand beach on February 20, 2011, two days before a large quake… Japanese officials nevertheless tried to calm fears and insisted there was no scientific data to prove the link.
Published: April 11th, 2015 at 3:08 pm ET