Cheni, Jan 12: It was a whale of a problem on Tuesday for officials to save 81 short finned whales that beached near a village in Tamil du's Tuticorin district but they only maged to help less than half survive.
"Eighty one whales were beached. We tried to take all of them back into the sea with the use of boats. While 36 whales swam away, 45 died," a fisheries department official told IANS.
The whales got beached off last night of Madu village in Tuticorin, around 600 km from here.
The district administration led by Collector M.Ravikumar mounted the massive rescue effort.
The whales were gently tied to boats of local fishermen and released mid sea but some returned towards the beach.
Around ten boats made the sorties with one whale each trip.
However officials were not able tell the probable reasons for the whales beaching in large numbers.
Speaking to reporters, Ravikumar said officials would investigate into the reasons for the whales getting beached.
"The whales could have been under stress. It could be due to coastal pollution by industrial effluents or even due to noise made by boats or ships," R.Rajaram, assistant professor, department of marine science, Bharathidasan University told IANS over phone from Tiruchirapalli.