Dozens of stranded whales dragged back to sea in Indonesia
Environmental News Network
(By Associated Press )
26th May 2004
JAKARTA, Indonesia — Scientists were studying a whale who died of heat exposure on Tuesday when it became stranded on a beach on Indonesia's Java Island after 49 others were successfully pushed back into the sea.
The short-finned pilot whale may have been the leader of a school of 50 whales who were found beached in Banyuwangi in eastern Java on Sunday, said Putu Riza Mustika, a researcher for World Wide Fund for Nature Indonesia.
"We think this whale may have crashed its head on a coral, ruining its navigation and leading the others astray to the beach," Mustika said in a telephone interview from Banyuwangi.
The 3.8-metre (12.4-foot) whale had wide gashes on its head but probably died from the heat while on the beach, she said.
Fishers, police, and officials dragged the other 49 animals back into the sea at high tide, said local conservation official Sudarminoto, who like many Indonesians has a single name.
The short-finned pilot whale can grow up to 7 metres (23 feet) and is widespread in tropical and temperate waters in the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific oceans. They travel widely in schools with the warm currents.