About 50 melon-headed whales were found to have beached on the shore in Kashima, Ibaraki Prefecture, in eastern Japan Friday night and 22 were rescued and returned to the sea on Saturday by authorities and local volunteers.
About 200 people, including staff at Oarai Aquarium in the same prefecture, city government officials and local residents and surfers near the Oritsu coast tried to save the beached whales by keeping them hydrated while they tried to refloat them, but 30 of them died, according to the city government. It took about eight hours to return the surviving whales to the sea, the officials said, adding they have buried the carcasses of the dead whales on the nearby shore.
Melon-headed whales are commonly seen offshore around the area in the early spring and they may have been drawn into the shallow waters while following their food, said Masayuki Shimada, chief of the marine animal exhibition section of the aquarium. (JapanToday)
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