4 stranded sperm whales die in Indonesia
Four sperm whales stranded on a beach in Indonesia have died despite frantic efforts to save the massive mammals, a local official said on Tuesday.
The whales were among a pod of 10 spotted by locals stranded along Ujong Krueng beach in Aceh province on Monday, with one seen further out in the water.
Rescuers tried to push the nine beached whales back out to sea as hundreds of locals looked on. Five sperm whales were pushed back and survived but four died.
Rescuers tied ropes to the tails of some of the mammals to pull them to deeper water.
“We had problems evacuating them due to a lack of experience and equipment,” said Sapto Aji Prabowo, head of the Aceh nature conservation agency.
“But this is a good lesson for us because Aceh is a crossing point for marine mammals. So in the future we should be prepared to deal with situations like this,” Prabowo added.
An official post-mortem examination will be conducted on the whales to determine the cause of death, but Prabowo said the mammals might have followed their leader to shore or lost their way.
This is the second time in the past few years that sperm whales have been found beached in northernmost Sumatra island, with one found dead on a beach in Banda Aceh last year.