A common bottlenose dolphin was found dead on a beach at Guihou Harbor (龜吼) in New Taipei City’s Wanli District (萬里) in the early hours of Wednesday, the latest incident in what is believed to be an unusual spike of stranded dolphins and whales in the aftermath of recent typhoons.
Taiwan Cetacean Society official Yang Wei-cheng (楊瑋誠) said the overwhelming majority of the strandings were likely to have been the result of sonar emissions, which can frighten many species of cetaceans, which use ultrasound for navigation.
Soon after the discovery of the dead dolphin, Coast Patrol Corps 2-1 and Gui Hou Harbour Safety Inspection Office personnel established a cordon and notified the society to remove the animal, sources said.
Photo: Lin Chia-tung, Taipei Times
On Aug. 29, a dolphin was found dead at Green Bay (翡翠灣), less than 1km from the latest incident.
Since Typhoon Megi made landfall on Sept. 28, there have been 12 strandings of whales or dolphins on Taiwan’s coastlines north of Yilan and Taoyuan, with all the animals being deep-sea species that spend time at depths of 1,000m to 2,000m, Yang said, adding that the preliminary results of an investigation would be published in the middle of next month.
In 2005, between 15 and 20 cetaceans were found dead or dying on beaches in northern Taiwan after Typhoon Haitang, Yang said.
At the time, the society enlisted international experts to assist in its research and based on the large volumes of air found in the dead animals’ organs, it was concluded that they died of decompression sickness following a rapid ascent from deep water.
The scientific consensus on cetacean strandings, based mostly on work by Western scientists in the Atlantic Ocean, blames the phenomenon on military-grade sonar, Yang said.
Prior to their death, the animals were probably subjected to sonar emissions from military sources, became terrified and attempted to flee by making a rapid ascent, resulting in fatal decompression, Yang said.
Because many powerful typhoons have passed near Taiwan without incident, a causal relationship between typhoons and strandings cannot be established, Yang said, adding that naval activities concurrent with Typhoon Megi might have caused the strandings.
The quietness of modern submarines has led to a corresponding increase in the power of sonar equipment used to detect them, and the US Navy has placed sonar devices in the waters near Japan’s Ryukyu Islands and the Philippines — to Taiwan’s north and south — to counter the threat of missile-armed submarines from China, Yang said.
Due to those developments, large-scale cetacean strandings will most likely be repeated, Yang said.
WAR FUNDING: A report by UK and Ukrainian defense analysts said that Taiwanese exports of a compound used in gunpowder have been helping Russia propagate its war About 20 percent of nitrocellulose — a compound used in gunpowder — imported into Russia has been sourced from Taiwan, a joint British-Ukrainian investigative report showed. Nitrocellulose is a key component of smokeless gunpowder, and the EU has banned export of the compound to Russia due to its ongoing war of aggression against Ukraine. The report said that nitrocellulose produced in Taiwan makes its way to Russia by passing through other countries such as Turkey. Only one company, T.N.C. Industrial Co (台硝), was named in the report, which also named China and Germany as key sources of the compound for
Individual tourists who arrive in Taiwan from tomorrow are eligible to receive limited-edition lucky bags to mark the Lantern Festival, Tourism Administration officials said yesterday. The Lantern Festival-themed lucky bags each contain a Year of the Dragon red envelope, a mini lantern, a NT$300 coupon for an amusement park ticket and a NT$500 Taiwan PASS coupon, the officials said. To get a lucky bag, visitors must present a passport or residence certificate and proof of their date of entry at a tourism center at either terminal at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) or Kaohsiung International Airport, they said. The
FOOD FRACAS: Legislative Speaker Han Kuo-yu called for the premier to deliver the address at 10:27am, but KMT legislators swarmed the podium to block him Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers yesterday temporarily obstructed Premier Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) from giving what is likely to be his last policy report to the legislature in protest at the Cabinet’s handling of food safety issues. The premier eventually delivered his report after a spat between caucuses about how and when Chen should deliver a special report on food safety. The KMT wanted the premier to make the special report yesterday, while the Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) said that the legislature should hold an internal meeting on the issue today and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) proposed Friday. As they could not agree,
ROAD SINKING: The road surface of Qingcheng Street near the intersection with Xingan Street in Taipei’s Songshan District collapsed on Friday at about 9pm Grouting was yesterday used to repair a section of road in Taipei, after work on a construction site caused the surface to partially collapse on Friday evening, the Taipei Construction Management Office said yesterday, adding that nearby buildings were not affected. The road surface of Qingcheng Street near the intersection with Xingan Street in Taipei’s Songshan District (松山) collapsed at about 9pm on Friday. When police arrived they found four cars parked by the roadside tilting to one side. Police estimated the area that had subsided was about 4m by 30m, and was about 1.5m deep. They cordoned off the surrounding area