JAKARTA – Indonesia rescued six of the ten sperm whales stranded on a beach in the northern part of Sumatra Island in western Indonesia, while the other four died, Indonesia’s maritime affairs department said Tuesday.
The rescue efforts, involving navy, police, coast guard officials and volunteers, had begun Monday morning and ended Tuesday at the Ujong Kareng beach in the Aceh province.
“One (of the sperm whales) we released returned to the shore because it was too ill or injured, so there are now four dead,” the head of the department of maritime affairs and fisheries in Banda Aceh, Basri, told EFE.
The whales are being monitored to ensure they do not return to the beach, Basri added.
Marine & Fisheries Campaign & Communications Coordinator WWF Indonesia Dwi Aryo said the cause of death of the whales and the reason why they might have wandered off-course will be known only after an autopsy.
The sperm whale is one of the largest mammals in the world, with males often boasting of an average length of 15 meters (49 feet) and an average weight of 36 tons, and has the largest brain in the animal world.