In some cases, a whale may be found beaching itself because it’s not entirely healthy and hardly has any energy left to stay afloat in the ocean, but the reason for a pod of 81 whales beaching themselves voluntarily on Manapad beach in Tiruchendur, India, which is located near the country’s southern-most tip, is confusing experts.
Rescue teams were alerted of the mass beaching and worked hard to tow several of the whales back into the ocean. It’s reported that up to 45 of them passed away on the beach’s several-mile long shore, and many of the others that were rescued actually returned to the beach shortly after.
The whales, which were anywhere from 15-23 feet in length, were stranded on the beach’s sand with nowhere to go. Had the rescue teams not showed up, several more would have likely died in the event.
“The reason why they came, no one has any idea,” said S.A. Raju, the district forest officer in Tuticorin. “This is the first time this has happened in the area. The whales were being constantly pulled toward the sea but they kept coming back. The local fishermen helped. If they had not sounded the alarm, all 81 of them would have died.”
Investigations are taking place to found out why exactly so many of the whales didn’t want to be in the water, and would rather have died on the beach. Those that didn’t make it are being buried close to the shore with heavy duty digging equipment.
Some theories suggest that the pod may have been met by a huge ship, although since beachings are typically health-related, it’s still a somewhat unsure answer. One thing that certainly has experts scratching their heads is the sheer number of whales that decided to take on the beaching.