Three pilot whales saved near Taitung
The China Post (Taipei)
25th February 2004
Only three of the nine pilot whales aground on a Taitung shore returned to safety in the Pacific yesterday.
Rescue workers, including schoolchildren, tried what they could but failed to save the six cetaceans washed ashore by tides at Chengkung, a village some 20 miles south of Taitung.
The pilot whale (Globicephalia sieboldii) is a small common marine mammal of tropical and temperate areas, having a bulbous head.
A fisherman first sighted a pod of pilot whales at 7 a.m.
Flowing tides carried nine of them to shore, where they remained stranded for more than eight hours.
Scores of volunteers wrapped the mammals with blankets to keep them warm. Nothing they did could help the stranded whales, however.
It was another rising tide that finally carried all nine back to the waters.
Two of them were carried back to shore again. Both of them were dead.
The other four were found dead afloat. They were towed back ashore.
Veterinarians of the Cetacean Association brought two of the dead whales to their laboratory for a pathological examination.
One was given the Taitung Marine Park, where it would be stuffed and displayed.
Another one would be treated taxidermally by the Hsinkang Fishermen's Association.
The Marine Laboratory of the Council of Agriculture would examine the two remaining carcasses.