According to a CNN report on the 3rd, on Monday afternoon, hundreds of short-fin pilot whales ran aground on Panadura Beach, 25 kilometers south of Colombo in Sri Lanka.
The authorities mobilized to help these whales return to the sea. Local residents joined the ranks of the Sri Lanka Navy and Coast Guard to rescue these whales. The navy subsequently stated that rescuers had returned 100 stranded whales back to the sea.
According to Agence France-Presse, Sri Lanka’s Marine Environmental Protection Agency (MEPA) stated that this was the largest whale stranding in this South Asian country.
The head of MEPA told Agence France-Presse: “It is unusual for so many whales to reach our coast.” He also said that the reason for the stranding is not yet clear.
With the assistance of the Navy, Coast Guard, lifeguards and residents, the rescue team worked overnight.
“At the request of the Navy Commander and Vice Admiral Nishata Ulugetani, we used the jet skis provided by the local water sports club to drag the whales back into the sea day and night,” the Sri Lankan Navy’s statement said.
The Sri Lankan Navy stated that these whales may have been stranded following a whale that deviated from the migration route. The death of four whales is under investigation.
In September of this year, nearly 500 whales were stranded on the Australian island of Tasmania.
This was the largest stranding in the country’s history. At least one-third of the whales died during the rescue.
Whales are highly social animals, migrating in groups, and the reason for the large-scale stranding is unclear.