Mas­sive un­der­tak­ing

The Star Malaysia - - World - — AFP

In­done­sian of­fi­cers from the Na­ture Con­ser­va­tion Agency and en­vi­ron­men­tal ac­tivists try­ing to re­float nine stranded sperm whales in Aceh Be­sar.

BANDA ACEH: Four of 10 whales that beached off In­done­sia’s Aceh prov­ince have died be­cause of in­juries and ex­haus­tion, a fish­eries of­fi­cial said.

The sperm whales be­came stranded on Mon­day at Ujong Kareng beach and at­tracted hun­dreds of on­look­ers who posed for pictures with them.

Nur Mahdi, the head of Aceh’s marine and fish­eries of­fice, said two whales that were both ex­ten­sively scratched and bruised died early yes­ter­day while two oth­ers that were very weak died a few hours later.

He said five of the giant mam­mals were re­floated on Mon­day and led out to sea by boats, but waves washed two back to shore.

Fish­ing boats led the pair and a re­main­ing whale out to sea yes­ter­day.

Mahdi said whale pods fol­low a group leader and can be­come stranded if the leader swims too close to shore due to sick­ness or other rea­sons.

Sev­eral dozen strand­ings of whales, dol­phins and other marine mam­mals are re­ported each year in In­done­sia, an ar­chi­pel­ago na­tion of more than 17,000 is­lands.

Ten pi­lot whales died last year when a pod of more than 30 stranded off the coast of Probol­inggo dis­trict in East Java prov­ince.

Whale of a

task: Res­cuers at­tempt­ing to push the stranded whales back into the ocean in Aceh. — AP

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