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10 dead whales found on Indonesian beach, one saved by locals

KUPANG (Indonesia) — Ten whales were found dead on an Indonesian beach Thursday (July 30), officials said, with images showing locals rushing to push a still-living member of the stricken pod back into the sea.

This handout picture taken and released on July 30, 2020 by Indonesian nature conservation agency (BKSDA) shows villagers trying to push a still-living whale back into the sea at Lie Jaka beach in Sabu Raijua, East Nusa Tenggara.

This handout picture taken and released on July 30, 2020 by Indonesian nature conservation agency (BKSDA) shows villagers trying to push a still-living whale back into the sea at Lie Jaka beach in Sabu Raijua, East Nusa Tenggara.

KUPANG (Indonesia) — Ten whales were found dead on an Indonesian beach Thursday (July 30), officials said, with images showing locals rushing to push a still-living member of the stricken pod back into the sea. 

The marine mammals, ranging from 2-6 metres in length, were found in the remote province of East Nusa Tenggara, the head of the region's water conservation agency Ikram Sangadji told AFP.

Footage showed a group of around 10 men struggling to push an eleventh member of the pod across the baking sands and back into the ocean.

They eventually managed to get the creature — which was scarred with deep cuts — into the water, and it appeared to swim off by itself, prompting loud cheers from the group.

Officials had concluded the stricken pod were likely short-finned pilot whales, Mr Sangadji said.

Short-finned pilots are highly social and are often involved in mass strandings, although scientists are still unclear as to why.

Residents helped dig graves to bury the carcasses of the ten dead whales, which were lashed with cuts likely caused by the creatures coming into contact with sharp rocks, Mr Sangadji added.

Cross-currents off beaches pose a danger to whales as they can get caught between reefs close to shore.

Last week, a giant 23-metre blue whale washed up near a beach near East Nusa Tenggara's capital city Kupang.

Seven pilot whales were found dead near Kupang last October. AFP

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