Four out of 10 sperm whales that were beached at Ujong Kareung Beach in Aceh Besar regency in Aceh died in the early morning on Tuesday while the rest had been taken back to open waters.
Around 50 rescuers from various offices were deployed since Monday to release the whales, with support from local people acting as volunteers.
“They were stranded in shallow waters, only two meters deep. So it was hard for us to release them,” Head of Lampulo PSDKP Basri told The Jakarta Post on Monday.
He explained that the first three whales had died before being taken back into the sea.
“We released seven of them to the sea this morning, but one of them returned to the beach again, dead. We are still monitoring the other six, making sure they will not strand themselves again,” Basri said.
Along with three ships from the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry, local fishermen lent their boats to help with the release and monitoring of the whales, as some of them suffered wounds after hitting rocks on the beach.
Local people withess several whales stranded in Ujong Karueng Beach in Aceh Besar regency, Aceh, on Monday, Nov. 13. (Antara/Ampelsa)
Local people had flocked to the beach since Monday to witness the stranded whales. They took pictures and shared live video via various social media platforms.
Marine and Fisheries Campaign Coordinator for World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Indonesia Aryo Tjiptohandono told the Post that in a lot of cases, beached whales that have been released will die due to their wounds.
“Crowd control around the area is very important to reduce the stress level of the whales,” he said.