Photos of the Sperm Whales (Physeter macrocephalus) that died after being stranded on the coast of Ujung Kreung, Aceh.

Source: WWF Indonesia Facebook

    Rescuers attempt attempt to push stranded Whales back into the ocean at Ujong Kareng beach in Aceh province, Indonesia, Monday, Nov. 13, 2017. An official said 10 Whales were stranded at the beach and attracted hundreds of onlookers who posed for pictures with them.

  1. Rescuers attempt to save stranded Whales back into the ocean at Ujong Kareng beach in Aceh province, Indonesia, Monday, Nov. 13, 2017. An official said a small pod of Whales was stranded at the beach and attracted hundreds of onlookers who posed for pictures with them.
  2. Curious onlookers watch as rescuers attempt to save stranded Whales back into the ocean at Ujong Kareng beach in Aceh province, Indonesia, Monday, Nov. 13, 2017. An official said a small pod of Whales was stranded at the beach and attracted hundreds of onlookers who posed for pictures with them.

Photos: AP Photo/Syahrol Rizal and Zulkarnaini

Indonesia:Beached Whales led out to sea off Indonesia’s Aceh but 4 die
15th November 2017;

Four of 10 Whales that beached off Indonesia’s Aceh province have died because of injuries and exhaustion, a fisheries official said Tuesday.

The Sperm Whales (Physeter macrocephalus) became stranded Monday at Ujong Kareng beach and attracted hundreds of onlookers who posed for pictures with them.

Nur Mahdi, the head of Aceh’s marine and fisheries office, said two Whales that were both extensively scratched and bruised died early Tuesday while two others that were very weak died a few hours later.

He said five of the giant mammals were refloated on Monday and led out to sea by boats, but waves washed two back to shore. Fishing boats led the pair and a remaining Whale out to sea on Tuesday.

Mahdi said Whale pods follow a group leader and can become stranded if the leader swims too close to shore due to sickness or other reasons.

Several dozen strandings of Whales, Dolphins and other marine mammals are reported each year in Indonesia, an archipelago nation of more than 17,000 islands.

Ten Pilot Whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus) died last year when a pod of more than 30 stranded off the coast of Probolinggo district in East Java province.

Source: Associated Press

Four of 10 Sperm Whales that were stranded and found by residents on the coast in Ujung Kreung, Aceh, have died, though the remaining six were released into the ocean on Tuesday (14/11).
Photo: Antara Photo/Irwansyah Putra

Indonesia: Four of 10 Sperm Whales Stranded on Acehnese Beach Die
By Dames Alexander Sinaga, 15th November 2017;

Four of 10 Sperm Whales (Physeter macrocephalus) that were stranded and found by residents on the coast in Ujung Kreung, Aceh, have died, though the remaining six were released into the ocean on Tuesday (14/11).

Sapto Prabowo, head of the Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) of Aceh, said the dead Whales might be contaminated with fungal infections.

“So far, we have suspected the four dead Whales, which were stranded in Aceh Besar, had fungal infections in their skin and mouths,” Sapto said in Aceh Besar on Tuesday, as quoted by state-run news agency Antara.

The 10 Whales were reportedly stranded on Ujung Kreung Beach on Monday morning.

Sapto said BKSDA, along with Whale experts from Bali, have examined the dead Whales and have come up with preliminary findings that show the Whales had fungal infections that produced worms.

He said the fungus infections affected the mammals’ metabolism, presumably causing the death of the four stranded Whales.

However, he said an autopsy is now being conducted by a team from the faculty of veterinary medicine at Syiah Kuala University in Banda Aceh to determine the cause of death of the four Whales.

“The cause of the death of these Whales still remains unknown. We still need to wait for the results of the autopsy,” Sapto said.

Meanwhile, Basri, head of the Whale evacuation team and an official at the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, said the four dead Whales will have to be buried on Ujung Kreung Beach, as the team does not have the proper equipment to cast the Whales back into the ocean.

“Usually, they are drowned in the oceans when they are dead, but due to not having the tools, they will have to be buried,” Basri said.

Source: Jakarta Globe

Ten Sperm Whales were found stranded on the shore of Ujung Kreung in Aceh Besar’s Mesjid Raya subdistrict, Aceh, on Monday morning (13/11)
Photo: WWF Indonesia

Indonesia: Ten Sperm Whales Stranded in Aceh
By Dames Alexander Sinaga, 13th November 2017;

Ten Sperm Whales (Physeter macrocephalus) were found stranded on the shore of Ujung Kreung in Aceh Besar’s Mesjid Raya subdistrict, Aceh, on Monday morning (13/11).

“Ten Whales were stranded on the shoreline. They are now being evacuated with a small boat,” local resident Yusri Mantong told the Jakarta Globe via text message.

He added that all the Whales were still alive and that the rescue efforts were coordinated by the Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA), Seafarers Education and Training Center (BP2IP Malahayati) and the Aceh chapter of the World Wildlife Fund.

Ricky Wahyudi, a member of the Indonesian Military (TNI) stationed in Mesjid Raya subdistrict, said residents reported the stranding at around 10 a.m./p>

“At the time, the Whales were about a kilometer from the shore, but after a while, they were seen moving up to about a dozen meters from the beach,” Ricky said, as quoted by state-run news agency Antara.

Teuku Nurmadi, a Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry official in Aceh, meanwhile said it is rare for Whales to strand in the area and that the animals may have become disorientated while migrating.

“We do not know where these Whales are coming from and where they are migrating to. We also still do not know what caused the injuries some of the stranded Whales sustained,” he said.

Source: Jakarta Globe

  1. Children look at a dead Sperm Whale, one of four that died after a small pod became stranded yesterday in Aceh Besar, Aceh province, Indonesia November 14, 2017.
  2. A man walks near a dead Sperm Whale, one of four that died after a small pod became stranded yesterday in Aceh Besar, Aceh province, Indonesia November 14, 2017.

Photos: REUTERS/Oviyandi Emnur

Indonesia: Indonesian volunteers save six beached Whales
By Kanupriya Kapoor, 14th November 2017;

Indonesian volunteers managed to save six Whales beached on the northern tip of Sumatra but four died, a conservation official said on Tuesday.

The rescuers worked late into Monday night to free six of 10 massive Sperm Whales (Physeter macrocephalus) using ropes and patrol boats and turn them back into the waters off Aceh province.

“Some people got injured on the coral and the high tide was also an obstacle but we tried our best,” said Sapto Aji Prabowo, head of the Aceh conservation agency.

“It is an important lesson for us on how to evacuate such huge animals if it happens again.”

Prabowo said it was not known why the Sperm Whales, which are among the biggest mammals on the planet, had washed up in shallow water.

“We plan to collect samples from the dead Whales to determine the cause of death and for future research,” he said.

Officials will bury the dead Whales as soon as possible as there is a risk of gases building up and causing the carcasses to explode.

Earlier this year, authorities in New Zealand had to cut holes in hundreds of Long-finned Pilot Whales (Globicephala melas) that washed up on beaches on the South Island to keep them from bloating and exploding.

“If we leave them there to rot, that could also cause disease,” said Prabowo.

Volunteers will use excavators to move and bury the animals. An adult Sperm Whale can grow up to 12 meters and weigh up to 57 tonnes.

Though unusual, Whale beachings have been seen in other parts of Indonesia, a vast archipelago of over 17,000 islands.

In 2016, 29 Short-finned Pilot Whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus) 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.

Officials previously said 12 Whales had been stranded in Aceh.

Source: Reuters

  1. A group of 10 Sperm Whales was stranded on Nov. 13 on a beach in Sumatra’s Aceh province.
  2. Four of the stranded Sperm Whales died after being stuck for several hours in the shallow waters off the beach. Photo courtesy of .
  3. Photos: WWF-Indonesia

    Indonesia: 4 Sperm Whales dead after mass stranding in Sumatra
    14th November 2017;

    • A pod of 10 Sperm Whales beached earlier this week in shallow waters in western Indonesia.
    • Despite attempts by authorities and residents to push the animals back out into deeper water, four of the Whales died after being stranded overnight.
    • Experts are looking into what caused the Whales to swim so close to shore.

    Four Sperm Whales were reported to have died Tuesday following a mass stranding on a beach on the northwestern tip of Sumatra, Indonesia.

    A group of 10 Sperm Whales (Physeter macrocephalus) was spotted on Ujong Kareung beach in Aceh province on Monday morning, according to WWF-Indonesia, which has been monitoring attempts to rescue the animals.

    Officials from the Navy, fisheries ministry and local government deployed teams and worked with residents and NGOs to try to push and tow the stranded Whales back out into deeper water.

    Two of the Whales were reportedly injured, while the others risked suffocation and organ failure from being stuck in shallow waters for too long, according to Arman, a veterinarian from the Center for Wildlife Studies at the Syiah Kuala University in Banda Aceh, the provincial capital.

    Seven Whales were pushed back out into deeper water between Monday evening and early Tuesday morning, according to Whale Stranding Indonesia, a marine mammal conservation organization based in Jakarta, which has also been monitoring the rescue. However, one of them returned to the beach.

    By Tuesday afternoon, the four stranded Whales were dead, according to WWF-Indonesia.

    “We are coordinating with veterinarians to conduct a necropsy on the dead four Whales,” the NGO said. “We are also using drones to monitor the six Whales that survived.”

    It is not yet clear why the Whales swam so close to the shore, as the species is known to prefer open ocean with waters deeper than 1,000 meters (3,280 feet).

    One theory is that the Whales, which navigate by echolocation, were disoriented by seismic surveying activity, an offshore oil-and-gas exploration technique in which sound waves are blasted down to the seabed and the reflected waves used to provide information about the geology.

    Three seismic surveys were reported to have taken place near the site where the Whales were stranded, according to Stranded No More, a watchdog group with an interest in marine mammals.

    The beaching of some 100 Melon-headed Whales (Peponocephala electra) in northwest Madagascar in 2008 was attributed in a 2013 report to acoustic stimuli from a survey vessel contracted by ExxonMobil.

    The sound waves involved are typically 100,000 times more intense than a jet engine and can severely impact fish, Dolphins, Whales and Sea Turtles, causing temporary and permanent hearing loss, disrupting mating, and driving the animals into shallower water, where they risk getting stranded, according to oceans conservancy NGO Oceana.

    The Jakarta Animal Aid Network (JAAN) acknowledged the possibility that a seismic survey may have been a factor in the stranding, but said there was little chance that this was the case in Aceh.

    Another possibility, said Amang Raga of JAAN, involves the injured Whales. He said Sperm Whales travel as a group, with the leader swimming out in front, and pod members were unlikely to abandon one another.

    “So if one of the Whales in the front becomes ill, the others will follow wherever it goes, and possibly [in this case it] swam close to the shore,” Amang said.

    Sperm Whales, which can grow to up to 20.5 meters (67 feet) in length, are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

    Source: Mongabay

Latest photos from WWF Indonesia on the dead Sperm Whales (Phyeter macrocephalus). Morphometry is being conducted now. A Skype call is set for local vets to help them with the necropsy.

Source: Whale Strandings Indonesia Facebook


See a Rescue Effort to Save 10 Stranded Whales
Scientists aren’t sure why the massive Sperm Whales suddenly beached themselves in Indonesia.
By Sarah Gibbens, 2017;

Saving one 40-ton Sperm Whale (Physeter macrocephalus) is a huge feat—so when 10 live Sperm Whales washed ashore off the coast of Aceh in northeastern Indonesia, it required a small army of wildlife volunteers.

In an emailed statement from WWF Indonesia, representative Aryo Tjiptohandono said the WWF team, environmental officials from the Indonesian government, and the Indonesian Navy were dispatched to Ujung Kareng Beach on Monday morning. Posting live updates on their Facebook page, the local conservation group Whale Stranding Indonesia commented that rescue groups were working around the clock to save the Whales.

Successfully moving Whales back into the ocean requires trained professionals with the right equipment, and some luck. A Whale stranded on a beach can usually only survive a day or two before succumbing to exposure, said Heidi Pearson, a professor at the University of Alaska Southeast. Pearson has assisted with saving stranded Whales in Alaska.

“One of the main concerns is their organs collapsing under their weight,” she explained. At sea, Whales are more buoyant, but once their bodies are out of the water, gravity begins to take hold. Whales can also suffer from sunburns and dehydration.

Drone footage shot by WWF Indonesia shows a messy tangle of ropes and people struggling to wrangle the Whales from shallow waters. Tug boats were used to pull the Whales out to shore, but other rescues have been conducted using a modified stretcher and cranes.

By around midnight Indonesian time, five of the Sperm Whales were successfully floated back out to sea. Several hours later, rescuers were able to move two back to sea. Early this morning, three were pronounced dead, and one of the refloated Whales returned to shore and died.

Wildlife officials aren’t sure what caused the stranding. Accounts of Whales beaching themselves have been documented for centuries, but finding the whales still alive is less common.

“Before we could get our expert to conduct necropsies on the four carcasses, the situation on the ground was getting out of hand as masses started to swarm the area,” said Tjiptohandono. He claimed residents wanting to help swarmed the beaches, making it difficult for rescuers and researchers to move the Whales and collect samples.

Without having more detailed reports from the carcasses, it’s difficult to know exactly why the whales became stranded.

Many float to shore and become stranded when they’re sick, said Pearson. Whales have also become stranded after losing their sense of direction.

“A third reason is they’re group forming. One member of the group might strand, and the other members will also strand because their bonds are so tight,” she said. “Healthy animals will strand because they’re good friends.”

Whales have also stranded because of sonic or acoustic interference. The animals communicate via underwater sonar and calls, so large vessels or disturbances in the water can interfere with their ability to navigate.

Most frustrating, Pearson conceded, is “sometimes we just don’t know.”

While a stranding en masse is less common than an individual whale floating ashore, the event in Indonesia is far from the largest involving cetaceans. Eighty-two dolphins (False Killer Whales) (Pseudorca crassidens) mysteriously beached themselves in Florida earlier this year, and the largest stranding recorded took place in 1946, when 835 Killer Whales (Orcinus orca) beached themselves in Argentina.

In 2016, more than 30 Sperm Whales beached themselves at the edge of the North Sea. An impressively large amount of plastic was found in their bellies, but the stranding was attributed to a lost sense of direction. Sperm Whales have a huge geographic range and are found throughout the world’s oceans, but whaling during the late 19th and early 20th centuries reduced their population numbers by more than 60 percent. Today, they’re classified as vulnerable by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

WWF will continue to monitor the six rescued Sperm Whales in Indonesia via drone to ensure they stay safely in the water.

Source: National Geographic

Environmental activists in Indonesia tred to refloat nine beached Sperm Whales but four of them died

Indonesia: Four Sperm Whales die in Indonesia beach rescue
14th November 2017;

Four Sperm Whales (Physeter macrocephalus) stranded on a beach in Indonesia have died, a local official said Tuesday, despite frantic efforts to save the massive mammals.

The Whales were among a pod of 10 spotted by locals stranded along Ujong Krueng beach in Aceh province Monday, with one seen farther out in the water.

Rescuers tried to push the nine beached Whales back out to sea as hundreds of curious locals looked on, some snapping pictures.

Five were pushed back and survived but four died, some with their mouth agape as small waves crashed over their giant bodies.

Rescuers tied ropes to the tails of some of the mammals to pull them to deeper water.

“We had problems evacuating them due to a lack of experience and equipment,” Aceh nature conservation agency head Sapto Aji Prabowo told AFP.

“But this is a good lesson for us because Aceh is a crossing point for marine mammals so in the future we should be prepared to deal with situations like this.”

An official autopsy will be conducted on the Whales to determine the cause of death, but Prabowo said the giant gray creatures may have followed their leader to shore or lost their way.

“Usually, Sperm Whales will avoid going into deep water if they’re sick. Two of them were sick. So, we assume the leaders were sick and the others automatically followed them to the beach,” Prabowo said.

One Whale had wounds that suggested it had been injured by a coral reef, he said, adding that the four dead will be buried close to the beach.

This is the second time in the last few years that Sperm Whales have been found beached in northernmost Sumatra island, with one found dead on a beach in Banda Aceh in 2016.

Also last year, eight Pilot Whales died after a mass stranding on the coast of Indonesia’s main island of Java.

They were among a group of more than two dozen Short-finned Pilot Whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus) that had come ashore during high tide.

Source: AFP, on Yahoo! News

  1. Joint personnel from various groups, along with local people, cooperate to release beached Sperm Whales stranded in Ujong Kareung, Aceh Besar regency, in Aceh on Monday, Nov. 13. At least 10 Whales were beached in the location.
  2. Local people withess several Whales stranded in Ujong Karueng Beach in Aceh Besar regency, Aceh, on Monday, Nov. 13.

Photos: Antara/Irwansyah Putra and Ampelsa

Indonesia: Four of 10 beached Whales in Aceh die
By Gemma Holiani Cahya and Hotli Simanjuntak, 14th November 2017;

Four out of 10 Sperm Whales (Physeter macrocephalus) that were beached at Ujong Kareung Beach in Aceh Besar regency in Aceh died in the early morning on Tuesday while the rest had been taken back to open waters.

Around 50 rescuers from various offices were deployed since Monday to release the Whales, with support from local people acting as volunteers.

“They were stranded in shallow waters, only two meters deep. So it was hard for us to release them,” Head of Lampulo PSDKP Basri told The Jakarta Post on Monday.

He explained that the first three Whales had died before being taken back into the sea.

“We released seven of them to the sea this morning, but one of them returned to the beach again, dead. We are still monitoring the other six, making sure they will not strand themselves again,” Basri said.

Along with three ships from the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry, local fishermen lent their boats to help with the release and monitoring of the Whales, as some of them suffered wounds after hitting rocks on the beach.

Local people had flocked to the beach since Monday to witness the stranded Whales. They took pictures and shared live video via various social media platforms.

Marine and Fisheries Campaign Coordinator for World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Indonesia Aryo Tjiptohandono told the Post that in a lot of cases, beached Whales that have been released will die due to their wounds.

“Crowd control around the area is very important to reduce the stress level of the Whales,” he said.

Source: Jakarta Post