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3 dead whales frozen, 9 survive after becoming stranded on shoal

chinadaily.com.cn| Updated: July 7, 2021 L M S


Villagers water a stranded melon-headed whale to cool it down after finding it stranded on a shoal in Linhai, Zhejiang province, on Tuesday. CHINA DAILY

Three melon-headed whales that were found dead on Tuesday morning after they were stranded in shallow water, have been frozen and may be used for scientific research, the information office of the Linhai Committee of the Communist Party of China said.

The carcasses are being held temporarily by a frozen seafood company.

A group of 12 melon-headed whales, a Level II protected species in China, were stranded in the shallow water of a shoal in Linhai county of Taizhou, Zhejiang province, on Tuesday morning.

They were found by fishermen at around 7:30 am near Toumen port in Linhai.

"We found these 'big fish' when we were picking sea snails on the shoal, and they were lying scattered peacefully. I've never seen such a scene before," fisherman Lin Licong said.

Local authorities mobilized more than 500 rescuers and fishermen, who dug deep holes and installed sunshades for the whales, several of which were ill.

Meanwhile, fishermen and rescuers took the initiative to open umbrellas and cover the bodies of the whales with wet towels, dousing them with buckets of seawater.

"We kept watering them to prevent evaporation, otherwise they would be put in danger," Lin Shanlan said.

By 9 am Tuesday, all 12 whales had been moved to holes filled with seawater. Three were dead, but nine others survived.

By 9 pm, two whales in good health, were released into the sea at a place with a water depth of more than 15 meters.

Of the other seven survivors, two are being kept temporarily at Taizhou Ocean World, and five were transported to a fish farm in Taizhou.

Experts are reportedly waiting for medical reports to discuss follow-up treatment plans.