(WANNet) 50 whales stranded in Banyuwangi

Submitted by Editor on Sat, 21/08/2004 - 17:51

(WANNet) 50 whales stranded in Banyuwangi
ANCOL BEACH, East Java, 25 May, 2004 - Fifty whales, which were stranded on Ancol beach, Banyuwangi, East Java, on Saturday, were successfully returned to the sea at high tide on Sunday night, but one died of heat exposure.

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August 21, 2004

The whales were first spotted by local residents on the beach, some 1.5 kilometers east of Ketapang port, Banyuwangi, in the early hours of Saturday when local fishermen were stunned by unfamiliar, black mounds on the beach where they usually land their catch.

"As they approached the mounds, they were startled when they realized they were beached whales," said Udin, a local resident.

Ancol beach is some five hours land journey east of Surabaya, the capital of East Java province.

The rare occurrence was immediately reported to the water police unit, whose its station is not far from the location.

The water police then directly reported the incident to Baluran Police and the Jember Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA). "BKSDA officials went quickly to the area to save the whales," BKSDA member Darminto told The Jakarta Post.

He recalled that dealing with dozens of whales was not an easy task. Moreover, the whales weighed an average of three tons each, with a length of 3.5 meters and girth of 2.5 meters.

"Rescuers and local residents painstakingly tried to drag the whales back to sea but it was in vain," he said. They decided to wait for high tide so the whales could swim back to sea.

The long-awaited high tide finally came on Sunday night, and the residents, with much effort, rolled the whales toward a more steeply sloping part of the beach.

"They were very heavy. As we couldn't carry them, we eventually rolled them over to the sea," said Darminto. Their efforts were not fruitless as 49 of them were saved, while one died of the heat.

"From its teeth, we estimated that it was two to three years old. It might have died from the struggle and the heat," he said.

He said that similar incidents had twice occurred there, including in June last year. "At that time a beached whale also died," he said, without elaborating on how many whales had been cast ashore.

http://www.thejakartapost.com/yesterdaydetail.asp?fileid=20040525.D05

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