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Whales are intelligent, but when they come close to our shores, their lives can change dramatically. As was the case in 2016, when thirty sperm whales stranded on the North Sea coast. Pictures of the dying animals moved scientists, the media and the general public. But other whale species also visit our coasts quite frequently: Bottlenose dolphins often stray into the Baltic Sea, showing no signs of shyness when approaching humans, yet at the same time, a  rare, two-toothed whale starves to death there. Even the small, native harbour porpoise fights for survival.

On the Baltic and North Sea coasts, but also the Mediterranean, the Caribbean or off the Canaries, whales continually succumb to distress. Marine biologist Florian Graner is determined to find out why the whales fare so badly and comes across some surprising explanations.