Lakruwan Wanniarachchi / AFP via Getty Images
A team of Sri Lankan rescue workers brought more than 100 whales back to sea after a mass hunt of mammals.
According to the country’s navy, a team of Sri Lankan navy and coast guard and local residents worked all night to save 100 to 120 shortfin pilot whales stranded on Panadura Beach. The beach is located south of the capital Colombo on the southwest coast of the island nation.
According to local officials, the group of stranded whales is believed to be the country’s largest recorded mammal hunt.
Video posted on social media late on Monday showed large animals lying on a sandy beach. The locals can be seen gathering around them as they try to push the animals back to the sea.
The navy and coast guard teams have been working with local police and volunteer lifeguards to use ships all night and early in the morning to safely pull whales back into the ocean, the navy said. However, four whales could not be saved and the Wildlife Conservation Department is conducting further investigation into their deaths.
The navy said the whales were washed ashore after the group followed “a desperately lost whale”.
In September, about 470 pilot whales ran aground in Tasmania. Only about 110 people could be saved after days of rescue efforts, Agence-France Presse reported.