The carcass of a giant blue whale washed up on a beach in East Nusa Tenggara yesterday afternoon, a sight that reportedly drew hundreds of onlookers for its sheer magnificence.
“We estimate that the whale was about 70 years old, though we don’t yet know its cause of death because we didn’t find any wounds on its body,” Ikram Sangadji, who heads the National Waters Conservation Agency (BKPPN) in Kupang, said.
The sea mammal was stranded on Nunhila beach in Kupang city, with conservation officers identifying it as a subspecies of the blue whale, known as the pygmy blue whale.
According to reports, the blue whale was about 29 meters in length and weighed more than a hundred ton.
“We suspect it might have died because of a disease. It’s estimated that it died three to four days ago,” Ikram said, adding that plans to bury the whale were scheduled for today.
Hundreds of local residents reportedly flocked to the beach to capture the moment, with photos and videos showing them surrounding the carcass at the beach.
Ikram said the blue whale is a protected species under Indonesian law, which also forbids their consumption. Last month, local residents in Bali’s Gianyar regency cut up a wounded sperm whale — which is also a protected species — that washed up on a local beach and extracted its oil, as they were unaware of existing regulations regarding the species.
This morning, however, local media outlets are reporting that the blue whale has been washed away due to high tides.
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