The carcass of a dwarf sperm whale was discovered on Rangkan Beach in the east-coast village of Ketewel yesterday morning. The 2.2-meter long mammal had reportedly been stranded in the area for a couple of days, despite the efforts of local fishermen to push it into deeper water.
“The whale was found by fishermen on Sunday. It had been pushed twice into the middle of the sea, but because of its weak condition, it became stranded again on Tuesday morning,” said Sulistyio Widodo, the head of Conservation at the Natural Resources Conservation Center, as quoted in Jawa Pos.
On inspection, the whale’s body—which was estimated to weigh 180 kilograms—was reportedly perforated with a number of bite marks to the back and mouth, though it’s unclear exactly what caused them.
According to Widodo, the dwarf sperm whale is a protected species, both alive and dead, and as such, the body will be taken to a research lab in Serangan for further investigation and to determine the cause of death.
One of the most commonly beached deep diving whales in the world, the dwarf sperm whale can be found in tropical and temperate waters around the world. It is suspected that the extreme weather of late could be one of the factors that led to this particular whale being stranded.
According to environmentalist groups, climate-change triggered conditions, such as high waves or high-speed winds at mid sea, can interfere with a whale’s echolocation mechanism, causing it to malfunction and mistaken the shoreline as part of its territory.
Incidentally, this isn’t the first time a whale has washed up on our shores. In 2016, a giant 16 meter sperm whale was found dead in Klungkung. Sadly, the poor creature wasn’t allowed to rest in peace straight away as residents flocked to take advantage of the photo op.