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Whales Seeking Shore Leave in Bali

Water Police and Conservation Offers Rescue 7 Pygmy Killer Whales, Washed Ashore on Bali's East Coast.

(4/23/2006) Quick and coordinated action by members of Bali Water Police, Police Mobile Brigade (Brimob), Fishery Officials, and representative of the Nature Conservation Corp (KSDA) saved 7 rare pygmy killer whales (Feresa attenuate) that washed ashore along Sanur and Ketewel beaches, on Bali's southeastern coast, Wednesday, April 19, 2006.

The smallest and somewhat mislabeled members of killer whale family, the pygmy killer whales average only 2.1-2.3 meters in length. Living on a diet of fish and squid, the pygmies are said top be gentle in nature, living in close-knit pods of approximately 50.

Using dive teams and two rubber boats, the rescue team struggled for more than 5 hours to remove the grounded whales from the shore and back into safer open waters.

Several of the whales, weighing more than 100 kilograms each, refused efforts to coax them back to sea, choosing instead to reground themselves on the beach. Undeterred, police hoisted several of the whales into waiting trucks and transported them to another beach, 3 kilometers away where the mammals were placed on rubber boats and taken back out to sea. During the entire process concerned local citizens and police officials worked tirelessly to calm the whales; placing items of personal clothing over the animals to shield them from the sun and continuously pouring cooling water to help maintain their body temperatures.