Nearly 50 pilot whales inexplicably beached themselves on a south-eastern island of Savu, Indonesia, over the past two days. Forty-three of them have died and many will now meals for the island's locals. "Locals have hacked into around 11 whales so far and will probably use the flesh for meat," Savu fishery office chief Dominggus Widu Hau told the AFP on Tuesday. Now now, before you get angry, appalled, or mad, please know that locals and animal activists tried everything in their power to get the animals back to sea, but even when they succeeded in getting a whale out of the shallows, The Guardian's Kate Hodal reports, the whales would repeatedly swim back to shore and beach themselves over again. Secondly, most of the pilot whales were already dead when locals found them late on Monday. And finally, pilot whales are not an endangered species. Scientists still haven't figured out what caused the mass beaching—there was a similar episode in Florida earlier this year, a massive beaching in Australia in 2005, and the Christian Science Monitor reports that pilot whales are a species which commonly beach themselves. "Such incidents have often been blamed on infestations of parasites that affect the whales' brains and their ability to stay on course."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.