Whale shark stranded in Bantul, dies
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A 13-meter black whale shark, which was stranded on Baru Beach in Bantul, Yogyakarta, on Wednesday evening, has died after rescue teams and local fishermen were unable to drag the giant mammal back to the sea.
“The shark became beached on Wednesday. It was still alive when we found it at around 6 p.m.,” said a local fisherman, Gambos, on Thursday.
The whale shark, which has patterns of pale yellow spots and stripes on its skin, died of exhaustion after trying to head back to the sea, according to Baru Beach rescue team member, Suparman.
He said rescue teams and local fishermen had tried to drag the whale shark back to the water with a boat, but the vessel had been too small to pull the 4-ton whale, he said.
According to Bandis, coordinator with a local NGO, Animal Friends Yogyakarta, the whale shark ran ashore on Baru Beach while it was looking for food. Whale sharks seek food both alone and in groups. They feed on macro-algae, plankton, krill, small squid, vertebrates and small fish.
“They migrate from Australian waters and pass through Indonesian waters,” Bandis said.
The stranded whale shark, he said, had become separated from its shiver. Previously, Bandis had spotted around seven whale sharks that were about to become beached. “But they found their way back to deep water,” he said.
In Indonesia, whale sharks are a protected fish under Law No. 5/1990.
Animal Friends decided to bury the carcass rather than take it back to sea, as the latter option had proved impossible.
Bandis said they had negotiated with locals on how to bury the whale shark carcass. “We will cut the carcass into pieces before burying it.”
Meanwhile, thousands of local residents flocked to Baru Beach to view the stranded whale shark. “It’s not every day that we see a gigantic fish,” said Arum Santoso, a local resident.
This whale shark was not the first huge sea creature stranded in Indonesian waters lately.
Just last week, a 12-meter sperm whale that rescuers helped return to the sea off West Java’s Karawang Beach was found dead four days later some 25 kilometers west of where it had been beached.
And early last month, another whale was found dead on West Sumatra’s Taliwang Beach.
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