Four of the ten sperm whales that became stranded on Aceh’s Ujong Kareng Beach have died of injuries and exhaustion, according to local fisheries officials.
Despite desperate rescue efforts by local residents, fishermen and rescue teams, two whales died on Tuesday morning due to extensive scratches and bruises they sustained, while another two died a few hours later. The ten whales beached themselves on Monday, which attracted attention from locals and also conservation groups who tried to save the whales in a combined rescue attempt.
Aceh’s marine and fisheries office said that rescue teams attempted to refloat five of the giant mammals they led out to sea by boats, but waves washed two back to shore. Fishing boats led the pair and a remaining whale out to sea on Tuesday.
“Some people got injured on the coral and the high tide was also an obstacle but we tried our best,” Sapto Aji Prabowo, head of the Aceh Conservation Agency, told Reuters.
Although the rescue teams and local residents helped to save some of the whales, a World Wildlife Fund Indonesia Official said that the sight of a big crowd of people could actually lead to stress for the whales and negatively affect their health.
The World Wildlife Fund of Indonesia tweeted that they will perform autopsies to try and find out what caused the beaching. Last year, a dead sperm whale was found on a beach near Banda Aceh City, while it was also reported that group of 29 pilot whales were stranded last year on the eastern shore of Java Island.