It's currently estimated that around 2,000 whales and dolphins are 'stranded' (i.e. run aground) each year. The majority of strandings result in death. Only about 10 cetacean species frequently display mass beachings, and another 10 do so occasionally.
“Cetacean stranding, commonly known as beaching, is a phenomenon in which whales and dolphins strand themselves on land, usually on a beach. Beached whales often die due to dehydration, collapsing under their own weight, or drowning when high tide covers the blowhole. Several explanations for why cetaceans strand themselves have been proposed, but none have so far been universally accepted as a definitive reason for the behavior.”
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