According to Simon Elwen, marine researcher and founder of Sea Search, whale populations off the West Coast have been experiencing exponential growth. According to the News24 article written by Nicole McCain, the increase of large pods (20-200 whales) travelling along South Africa’s coastline, is said to be a unique phenomenon.

Sadly, there has been a few mortalities. Two juvenile whale carcasses have recently washed ashore in Cape Town. According to a News24 article published 06 January 2022, it should not cause alarm because the carcasses could be a symptom of a growing population and that the ecosystem is at carrying capacity.

According to a National Geographic article written by Melissa Hobson and published in 2021, there are a number of reasons why whales beach themselves – from natural causes (injured, lost or unable to feed), deceptive tidal patterns to human interference such as noise pollution, plastic pollution, overfishing and entanglement in fishing lines.

According to Rob Deaville, quoted in the National Geographic article, strandings can also indicate healthier population numbers – “Put simply, with more animals out there, more of them are likely to strand from natural causes even if other threats are minimized”.

Although it’s great news that the whale populations are increasing, any loss of marine life is devastatingly sad – even if it’s a result of mother nature.

Photograph Credit: Mike Doherty via Unsplash