Collision as possible cause of death bottlenose whale

The adult female bottlenose whale found dead near Terneuzen yesterday evening was examined. The whale had a large injury to her abdomen. This was probably caused by a collision. The cautious initial conclusions of the research by Utrecht University indicate that this was probably the cause of death. Microscopic research should further confirm this.

At the end of August a mother-calf pair of the same species was observed in the Oosterschelde. This was in the same week that seven bottlenose whales were stranded alive in Ireland, followed by several strandings of pointed beaked dolphins on the Belgian, English and also Dutch coasts. These deep-diving whale species do not usually occur in the shallow waters of the North Sea. The last stranding of this species in the Netherlands was almost thirty years ago.

Earlier, noise was suggested as a possible cause of the strandings of these cetaceans, but scientific evidence is lacking. Researcher Lonneke IJsseldijk: "We have made haste in researching this stranded bottlenose whale with the aim of securing the hearing organs, among other things. Other organ tissues have also been included, these are being further examined at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine".

Additional research on the gastrointestinal system will take place at Wageningen Marine Research. The skull has been preserved for the collection of Naturalis. Would you like to read more about beach research at Utrecht University? Take a look at or follow our researchers on Instagram.