Six of the dead stranded whales were buried in a traditional ceremony

Six of the dead stranded whales were buried in a traditional ceremony
Seventeen whales became stranded on Menia Beach in West Sabu, Sabu Raijua regency, East Nusa Tenggara, on Thursday with 11 of them dying, possibly from the severe wounds all over their bodies.

"The wounds could have been caused by the corals along Menia Beach," Sabu Raijua Police chief Comr. Samuel Simbolon told The Jakarta Post, Thursday.

He said the whales were found stranded on the beach at about 1 p.m. local time, promptly attracting locals to see them. Some people went down to the beach to use speedboats to try to help the mammals return to the sea. Others helped recover the dead ones.

Six of the whales could be rescued and returned to the ocean while 11 others did not survive. With the help of locals, the regency's marine and fishery agency released the six from the shallow water during high tide. They also buried the dead ones.

"We have yet to know why the whales were stranded," Samuel said, adding that such strandings often took place on Sabu Island. The whales were migrating through the Indian Ocean before they got stranded there.

At least 50 whales were recorded to have become stranded on Sabu Island over the last seven months. In 2012, 44 whales were found stranded along the beach in Deme village, Liae district, Sabu Raijua. Of those 44 whales, 41 did not survive.