Two melon-headed whales have washed up on the beach in Panda Village, Palibelo District, Bima Regency, Nusa Tenggara barat.
The Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) said the phenomenon that occurred on Wednesday (22/9/2021) is classified as rare.
These two protected/ endangered animals were found dead, not far from the location of the initial discovery of the Melom head whale recently.
The discovery of a whale with a length of more than one meter was a shock to local residents.
Head of SKW III Bima-Dompu, BKSDA NTB Bambang Dwidarto confirmed that two dead whales were found by residents stranded in Bima Bay. He said the two mammals were found on Wednesday afternoon
These two melon-headed whales were found with abrasions on several parts of their body and mouths.
“That’s correct, these two stranded whales were found on the same coastline as the initial discovery. They were all found dead, with abrasions on several parts of the body,” said Dwidarto on Thursday (23/9).
He explained that the two whales found by residents had been buried in accordance with procedures for handling stranded mammals.
“These dead animals are buried near the beach where they are stranded,” Dwidarto stated.
The phenomenon of stranded whales in Bima Regency is a rare phenomenon.
Based on records, 4 whales were stranded in Bima Bay in the past two weeks, all of them found dead.
One was found on the beach in Lewintana Village, Soromandi District. Meanwhile, three other whales were found in the same location, at Panda Village beach.
So far it is still unknown why these whales were stranded.
Dwidarto said the stranding of the whales is considered a rare event with an unexplained cause.
Regarding this incident, the BKSDA together with the relevant agencies immediately rushed to investigate the cause.
Dwidarto explained that there were various reasons why the whales were stranded.
The current theory is that these mammals are thought to have separated from the group while hunting for food after entering Bima Bay. Another theory is that the whales are thought to have gotten lost while crossing.
It is also possible that the whales were directed to shallower waters via a new route and stranded.
The BKSDA said it is actively investigating the cause of the whales being stranded.
“Another reason is the possibility of whales being stranded on shallow shores, which can occur on the theory that one of them is sick. That’s just a possibility. However, there are authorities who can confirm whether the cause of death was due to illness or not,” said Dwidarto.
According to Dwidarto, this is not the first time that whales have been beached in Bima.
A similar case occurred in 2015 where the whales were successfully released back into the sea in the waters of Kolo, around the city of Bima.
However, the occurrence of 4 dead whales in close proximity in this territory is a new event.
“This is a new phenomenon. Whale stranding in Bima is rare. From our records, in 2015 there was a whale stranded on Kolo beach, and at that time it was rescued. However, this year is the first time that four dead whales have washed up within a short time frame,” he said
He said that the melon-headed whales stranded in Bima Bay were thought to have traveled in small groups of related mammals.
“Based on the results of observations of various parties, this herd of whales is estimated to number from 7 to 8,” said Dwidarto.
Dwidarto said the melon-headed whale is an animal that is protected by law and should not be consumed.
For this reason, the Denpasar Coastal and Marine Resources Management Center (BPSPL) immediately intervened to respond to the findings of the case of a stranded and dead whale on the shoreline.
BPSPL officers will act with BKSDA to conduct observation and rescue efforts, because there may still be other members of the melon-headed whale group that strayed and were stranded in Bima Bay.
The Department of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries of Bima Regency also distributed fish detectors to fishermen to learn more about the existence of these marine animals.
“So, all parties are involved in this observation team. However, the BPSPL team are experts in the technique of saving protected animals. We are only taking initial actions by monitoring the vicinity of the stranded whales. After the BPSPL team joins us, we will sit down together to discuss the next steps,” said Dwidarto.
Dwidarto explained that since the beginning of the case of the beached whales, his team continued to comb the waters around Bima Bay and map out the possible location other members of these species that may still be alive.
As of Thursday afternoon, no other whales were observed or stranded along local waters.
“Because the most important thing is rescue. So, we are conducting passive observations in the waters to monitor the possibility of the appearance of others that may still be alive,” said Dwidarto.
“We also ask for help from the community to map where the latest discoveries are. If there are discoveries by fishermen, we ask for help for these to be reported so that they can be followed up. After that, mapping will only be carried out before taking further steps,” he continued.
In addition, the team will continue to coordinate with relevant agencies and educate the public about protected animals.
According to Dwidarto, socialization to the public about protected animals needs to be carried out to preserve rare marine biota, as well as maintain the diversity of fish resources and the environment in a sustainable manner.
“All parties, especially the public, must be aware that protected animals need to be preserved. If anyone finds protected animals, especially marine mammals, they should not be consumed and traded. Because for anyone who violates this, it is a criminal act according to the law,” he said.
In addition, all relevant parties need to coordinate in order to protect the preservation of marine animals.
“Obviously it is very necessary, because this is not only the authority of the BKSDA as the central government, but all parties must be involved, including related agencies from the regional government who must go to war in an effort to save these protected animals,” he concluded.