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There is also the controversial issue of human involvement, particularly defence sonar. According to Kemper, little research into sonar involvement has been done in Australia but it has been linked to strandings in the US.
"Recent evidence from some strandings, particularly the deep-diving beaked whales, shows that low-frequency and powerful underwater sounds can result in animals stranding," she said.
Rosemary Gales from the Department of Primary Industries in Tasmania said the first point of call after a stranding is to investigate sonar involvement.
"Our standard practice is to contact Defence and industry by phone to immediately check if there are exercises in the area of the strandings," she said.
This is the driving force behind current research into whale strandings and other such events.
"Whale's have been standing forever but the initial concern is whether it is increasing," said Hindell.
"There is certainly more human activity that could influence these sorts of things. We want to understand whether or not we are dealing with a purely natural phenomenon or whether there is something else over laying that."