Six Sperm Whales Rescued from Stranding in Ujong Kareung Beach | WWF Indonesia

Six Sperm Whales Rescued from Stranding in Ujong Kareung Beach

Posted on 14 November 2017   |  
Stranded sperm whale in Aceh
© Mahmud Yani/WWF-Indonesia
By: Dwi Aryo

A pod of sperm whale migrating through Indonesia’s Aceh Province was beached off Ujong Kareung coast on Monday (13/11). WWF-Indonesia deployed a small team from Aceh office to help provide preliminary information and condition of the event, and assembled team of rescuers on Monday morning.

Due to the fast respond of the local goverment, Panglima Laot, the Marine and Fisheries Surveillance Directorate of the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, the Natural Resources Conservation Agency of Ministry of of Environment and Forestry, Veterinary Medicine Faculty Syiah Kuala University, National Search and Rescue Agency, and WCS, the rescue team managed to save six of the stranded sperm whales.

The desperate rescue attempt to refloated the 10 stranded sperm whales were conducted carefully and supervised by experts. Around midnight (local time) five sperm whales were successfully refloated back to the sea using tug boat. At dawn, two more were led out to the sea.

On Tuesday morning, we recieved confirmation that the other three remaining stranded whales are dead. Not long after, one of the previosly refloated whale returned back to shallow coast and gave it last breath, making the total number of dead whales to four.

In the event of stranding, necropsy or animal autopsy is crucial to uncover the cause of stranding and death of the whales. Understanding the phenomenon will increase the emergency responses effectiveness.

Dwi Suprapti, Marine Species Coordinator WWF-Indonesia, said this incidents should become an opportunity to understand the whales and their migration routes. However, limited expert and trained human resources impedes from acquiring such information. Indonesia needs to strengthen the marine mammal stranding task force specifically by involving experts in stranding hot spots. This will increase the response and survival rate should any strandings occur.

About 35 species of cetaceans, plus the dugong, are known to occur in the Indonesian waters. As a country with one of the longest coastlines in the world, strandings frequently occur off the coastline. Last year, at least 32 pilot whales were stranded on the beach of Desa Pesisir, East Java. The rescue team managed to led out 24 whales to the ocean.

Stranded sperm whale in Aceh
© Mahmud Yani/WWF-Indonesia Enlarge


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