The carcass of a 16.2-metre-long sperm whale washed up on a beach in Bali, Indonesia on Monday, March 14. The whale was found earlier this morning in Klungkung on the east of the Indonesian island by two local fisherman who had been catching lobster. Hundreds of visitors flocked to the beach to see the giant creature throughout the day, with many taking photographs and some climbing onto and diving off of its body.
A few police officers guarded the carcass but the high tide meant that it could not yet be removed from the beach, witnesses said. According to local media reports, police are still co-ordinating with local authorities to devise a plan to move the whale. People were also seen approaching the whale and laying items on it back as part of an offering, with a Hindu priest also seen ankle deep in the water walking over to the animal.
Negah Sunatra, one of the fishermen who first spotted the whale told Sindo News: ‘We usually look for lobsters on this beach. We were shocked with the whale. ‘After we approached, it turned out to be dead.’ Police and the local authorities in Bali including the department for fisheries and marine affairs, the disaster management agency and a conservation body are forming a plan on how to remove the whale from the beach.
Bali’s Natural Resource Conservation Body confirmed that the animal washed up was a Physter macrohepalus, also known as a sperm whale. They believe the whale was with its pod as it migrated to a different part of the ocean, when it became separated. They add they think it drifted off and then ended up stranded on the beach. Beached whales often die due to dehydration or collapse under their own body weight. Sometimes they also drown when the high tide covers their blowhole. Sperm whales are the world’s largest living toothed predator, and one of the deepest diving mammals.