11 min read

300 Whales Were Found Dead On A Beach, And No One Knows Why

More than 300 whales have washed up dead in what scientists are calling the biggest die-off ever.

After 30 whales were found in April, scientists launched a fly-over inspection of the remote inlet in Patagonia, in Chile, in June. They found the die-off was much bigger than expected: So far the bodies of 337 whales, in various states of decomposition, have been found washed up on the inlet's shores.

While the age of the bodies makes it difficult to identify them, scientists believe they are sei whales, according to National Geographic, which are large baleen whales that can reach around 60 feet in length and can be found worldwide.

Sei whales are currently endangered due to commercial whaling and have lost 80 percent of their mature population in the past three generations, according to IUCN. There are an estimated 80,000 individuals left, though that number is uncertain.

Researchers aren't sure what caused the die-off, though a red tide could be to blame - a harmful algal bloom that can release toxins into the water. Researchers are currently studying the phenomenon and Chile has launched an investigation into the death of the endangered animals.While the commercial whaling industry that first endangered the sei whales has been greatly reduced in size, it hasn't been eradicated. The news of the die-off came just days before Japan launched a whaling ship to the Antarctic to kill 333 minke whales. While Japan maintains that the slaughter is part of a "scientific" expedition, these claims have been roundly criticized by the U.N.'s International Court of Justice and the international community.And last week, members of the hacker group Anonymous launched a cyber attack on the Icelandic government that brought down five websites in retaliation for the country's ongoing whaling industry. Iceland is one of three countries, along with Japan and Norway, that maintain the industry - much of the meat that Iceland takes is sold to Japan.If you'd like to help protect wild whales, you can make a donation to Whale and Dolphin Conservation, a group dedicated to preserving wild cetaceans.Join 220 countries and territories around the world for the global premiere of Racing Extinction - Wednesday, Dec. 2nd, 9/8c on Discovery.

Researchers aren't sure what caused the die-off, though a red tide could be to blame - a harmful algal bloom that can release toxins into the water. Researchers are currently studying the phenomenon and Chile has launched an investigation into the death of the endangered animals.While the commercial whaling industry that first endangered the sei whales has been greatly reduced in size, it hasn't been eradicated. The news of the die-off came just days before Japan launched a whaling ship to the Antarctic to kill 333 minke whales. While Japan maintains that the slaughter is part of a "scientific" expedition, these claims have been roundly criticized by the U.N.'s International Court of Justice and the international community.And last week, members of the hacker group Anonymous launched a cyber attack on the Icelandic government that brought down five websites in retaliation for the country's ongoing whaling industry. Iceland is one of three countries, along with Japan and Norway, that maintain the industry - much of the meat that Iceland takes is sold to Japan.If you'd like to help protect wild whales, you can make a donation to Whale and Dolphin Conservation, a group dedicated to preserving wild cetaceans.Join 220 countries and territories around the world for the global premiere of Racing Extinction - Wednesday, Dec. 2nd, 9/8c on Discovery.

Researchers aren't sure what caused the die-off, though a red tide could be to blame - a harmful algal bloom that can release toxins into the water. Researchers are currently studying the phenomenon and Chile has launched an investigation into the death of the endangered animals.While the commercial whaling industry that first endangered the sei whales has been greatly reduced in size, it hasn't been eradicated. The news of the die-off came just days before Japan launched a whaling ship to the Antarctic to kill 333 minke whales. While Japan maintains that the slaughter is part of a "scientific" expedition, these claims have been roundly criticized by the U.N.'s International Court of Justice and the international community.And last week, members of the hacker group Anonymous launched a cyber attack on the Icelandic government that brought down five websites in retaliation for the country's ongoing whaling industry. Iceland is one of three countries, along with Japan and Norway, that maintain the industry - much of the meat that Iceland takes is sold to Japan.If you'd like to help protect wild whales, you can make a donation to Whale and Dolphin Conservation, a group dedicated to preserving wild cetaceans.Join 220 countries and territories around the world for the global premiere of Racing Extinction - Wednesday, Dec. 2nd, 9/8c on Discovery.

Researchers aren't sure what caused the die-off, though a red tide could be to blame - a harmful algal bloom that can release toxins into the water. Researchers are currently studying the phenomenon and Chile has launched an investigation into the death of the endangered animals.

While the commercial whaling industry that first endangered the sei whales has been greatly reduced in size, it hasn't been eradicated. The news of the die-off came just days before Japan launched a whaling ship to the Antarctic to kill 333 minke whales. While Japan maintains that the slaughter is part of a "scientific" expedition, these claims have been roundly criticized by the U.N.'s International Court of Justice and the international community.

And last week, members of the hacker group Anonymous launched a cyber attack on the Icelandic government that brought down five websites in retaliation for the country's ongoing whaling industry. Iceland is one of three countries, along with Japan and Norway, that maintain the industry - much of the meat that Iceland takes is sold to Japan.

If you'd like to help protect wild whales, you can make a donation to Whale and Dolphin Conservation, a group dedicated to preserving wild cetaceans.

Join 220 countries and territories around the world for the global premiere of Racing Extinction - Wednesday, Dec. 2nd, 9/8c on Discovery.