Indonesia to investigate deaths of four beached whales

Photo shows people gathered around shore where dead beached whales are lying along the coast area of Ujong Kareung beach of Aceh province (Reuters)

UJONG KAREUNG Beach, Aceh Province, Indonesia (Reuters) — Authorities will perform autopsies on four beached whales found in Aceh province to investigate  their cause of death, the investigation team said on Tuesday (November 14).

Indonesian volunteers managed to save six whales beached on the northern tip of Sumatra but four died.

Rescuers worked late into Monday (November 13) night to free six of 10 massive sperm animals using ropes and patrol boats and turn them back into the waters off Aceh province.

Aceh’s conservation agency said it was not known why the sperm whales, which are among the biggest mammals on the planet, had washed up in shallow water.

Though unusual, whale beachings have been seen in other parts of Indonesia, a vast archipelago of over 17,000 islands. In 2016, 29 pilot whales were briefly trapped in a mangrove swamp off the eastern coast of Java, but managed to free themselves or were helped back out to sea by fishermen.