Malaysia: Beached whale in Cherating rescued by members of the public

HIDIR REDUAN New Straits Times 9 Oct 17;

KUANTAN: A four-metre young whale found itself beached on the pristine sands of Cherating Beach near the private resort of Club Med Cherating here at 11am today.

Fortunately, a group of around 20 people, comprised of tourists, club members and the Pahang chapter of the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) helped push the hapless marine mammal back into deeper waters.

According to a resort staff member who declined to be named, the mammal was discovered beached on the sands by his colleagues at 11am.

“When we examined the whale and found that it was still alive, we as a group (tourists, club members, resort staff and MNS members) made the decision to help it return to the sea.

“We suspect it lost its way before ending up on the beach," he said this afternoon.

Photos of the incident has since spread on social media.

During the effort to push the animal back into the sea, many people there took the opportunity to take pictures and record videos of the mammal, which is rarely seen in Malaysia.

The staff said the group of 20 spent around 30 minutes helping to pull and push the whale back into the waters before it swam farther into the sea.

“This is a rare occurrence and the first one I ever experienced while working here over the past eight years,” he said, adding that they had also relayed the matter to the beach ranger for further action.

State Malaysian Nature Society chairman Jehan Bakar confirmed that members of the environmental non-governmental organisation (NGO) was at the beach to help push the whale back into the sea.

“On discovering that the whale was still alive, some of the MNS members there poured water on it to help it keep hydrated before helping push it back into the sea.

“It is not a full adult yet and is still in juvenile stage,” said the 47-year-old.

“However, it at first swam within the shallow waters of the beach in a confused state. Fortunately a short while later, it returned deeper into the sea by itself,” said Jehan.

The whale’s species remains unknown as of press time.

Jehan said the whale may have become separated from its mother due to unfamiliarity with its surroundings.

She noted that the close cooperation between those on the beach to help the animal return to the sea is testament to the innate compassion among the people for all forms of life.

“The people working together to push the whale back into the sea shows that compassion still exists among members of society. They could put aside their differences to save the whale.

“These values must constantly be inculcated especially for wildlife and its conservation," she said.