Race to save 100 whales in Sri Lanka’s biggest mass beaching
Posted on November 2nd, 2020

Courtesy The Guardian

Navy joins forces with rescuers and volunteers in effort to push pilot whales back into ocean.

Volunteers try to push back a stranded short-finned pilot whale on Panadura beach, Sri Lanka.

Volunteers try to push back a stranded short-finned pilot whale on Panadura beach, Sri Lanka. Photograph: AFP/Getty ImagesAgence France-Presse in ColomboMon 2 Nov 2020 17.11 GMT

Rescuers and volunteers were racing to save about 100 pilot whales stranded on Sri Lanka’s western coast in the country’s biggest mass beaching.

The short-finned pilot whales began beaching at Panadura, 15 miles (25km) south of Colombo, shortly before dusk. Within an hour their numbers swelled to about 100, a local police chief, Sanjaya Irasinghe, said.

With the help of local residents we are trying to push them back [into the ocean],” he said. But they keep getting washed ashore. We are getting help from the navy to rescue these whales.”

The national Marine Environment Protection Authority (Mepa), whose officials were helping with the rescue operation, said it was the largest single pod of whales stranded in Sri Lanka.

It is very unusual for such a large number to reach our shores,” Mepa’s chief, Dharshani Lahandapura, said, adding that the cause of the stranding was not known. We think this is similar to the mass stranding in Tasmania in September.”

Rescuers work through the night to save dozens of short-finned pilot whales.

Rescuers work through the night to save dozens of short-finned pilot whales. Photograph: Lakruwan Wanniarachchi/AFP/Getty

The beaching of 470 pilot whales in a remote harbour in Tasmania was Australia’s largest ever. About 110 whales were saved in a rescue effort that took days.

Pilot whales, which can grow up to six metres (20ft) and weigh a tonne, are highly social.

The causes of mass strandings remain unknown, despite scientists studying the phenomenon for decades.

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One Response to “Race to save 100 whales in Sri Lanka’s biggest mass beaching”

  1. Henry Says:

    Congratulations on your valiant efforts. I hope Greenpeace and other environmental orgs. can help. Please post how we can contribute.

    Sri Lanka’s success in the control of COVID, and her wonderful efforts to save the whales and the environment are more than commendable.

    Whatever the purpose Pompeo had during his recent visit, I hope he learned something about what a little country can do if the leaders and their policies are unselfish and for the greater good of mankind.

    We hope that the madness of withdrawing from the Paris accord will soon be a thing of the past.

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