[MARMAM] A pod of pygmy killer whale stranded in Bali (19 April 2006)

Putu Liza putu.liza at jcu.edu.au
Fri Apr 21 22:03:45 PDT 2006

Dear all,

Have a blessed Earth Day today. Sorry for the late update. 

Another pod of cetacean stranded again in Indonesia. This time, they were 8 pygmy killer whales (Feresa attenuata); stranded in Padanggalak beach in Bali, approximately 20 minutes drive from the heart of Denpasar, in the morning (around 7am) of April 19, 2006. I was not in Bali at that time, but the joint rescue team has managed a more than 8 hours of rescue effort to save the stranded whales. At around 11:30am, three rubber boats and one truck from the Denpasar Police Squad arrived at the ground zero to help the rescue. The original plan was to guide the whales back to the sea with the rubber boats. However, the high waves of 2-3 m had hindered the rescue process. Thus, the whales were then transferred to Sanur Beach (approx 10 min from Padanggalak beach) by truck, as Sanur had milder sea condition. Along the journey, the rescue team covered the whales with soaked clothes to prevent dehydration. The joint rescue team had also measured two whales for the total length (192 cm and 210 cm).

By 3pm, all whales have been returned back to the sea. However, I received a phonecall from Reef Check that by 5pm, one of the whales made an attempt to re-strand. Apparently, it was exhausted. The rough tidal waves did not help its rescue either. So, I suggested that the whale be guided to the open sea, away from the afternoon tidal current. I suppose, the last effort helped, as there was no additional news of another stranded whale afterwards.

>From May 2004 to April 2006, my colleagues and I have recorded three cetacean strandings in Bali, out of 7 whale stranding events in Indonesia.  This stranding event has again indicated how important Bali's position in cetacean migratory routes in Indonesia. Again, I'm sorry that I could not provide more information on their health condition (other than that they seemed not to experience any significant external injuries), or harsh weather condition (other than the high waves). My assumption was that the pod leader (might be the last one who returned back) was sick or injured, and hence, the stranding. 

Special thanks to Imam Mustopha (WWF Indonesia) who provided me a detailed story of this event, Pariama Hutasoit and Naneng Setiasih (Reef Check Indonesia) for their continuous coordination, and Putu Widyastuti (MAC Indonesia) for providing me pictures for species identification.  Also my great gratitude to the Denpasar Police Squad (including the Special Bomb Unit of the Denpasar Police Department), local Fisheries Agency, private marine tour operators in Sanur and of course the whole communities of Sanur and Padanggalak regions in Bali who had joint their efforts to safely returned the whales back to the sea. Their care for these animals have been a gift to Mother Earth today.


Putu Liza (Icha)
Master candidate of Environmental Management
James Cook University - North Queensland
putu.liza at jcu.edu.au, putuliza at yahoo.com 
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