India

India: Five whales return to Tamil Nadu beach

Indian fishermen try to drag a whale that washed ashore in Manapad in Tamil Nadu"s Tuticorin district, some 600 km south of Bangalore, on January 12, 2016 Image copyright AFP
Image caption More than 80 whales were stranded on the shore at Tuticorin

Five whales who were floated back out to sea in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu have returned to the shore at Tuticorin.

They were among the 36 whales who were rescued and pushed back into the sea on Tuesday.

At least 45 whales died after more than 80 of the animals were stranded on the shore at Tuticorin.

The last time such an incident occurred in Tuticorin, was in 1973 when 147 whales died.

Local fishermen, helped by officials, used mechanised boats to float the stranded whales back into the sea on Tuesday, but five of the animals returned to the shore early on Wednesday, BBC Hindi's Imran Qureshi reports.

"We were expecting [some of the whales] to return to the shore. We have again used boats to take them back into the sea," Dr Patterson Edward, director of the Tuticorin-based Sugandhi Devadasan Marine Research Institute, said.

Image copyright AP
Image caption The last time such an incident occurred in Tuticorin was in 1973 when 147 whales died
Image copyright AP
Image caption Local fishermen, helped by officials, used boats to float the stranded whales back into the sea on Tuesday

Scientists say they are unsure about the reasons behind the whales coming to the shore.

"We can't say the exact reason. They could have come chasing a prey and lost their way," fisheries official A Srinivasan told BBC Hindi.

"It is also possible that the water current could have changed when the low tide replaces a high tide and they could have lost their way in the low depth region and reached ashore. They lose their orientation when this happens," he said.

Meanwhile, the 45 dead whales are being buried near the shore at Tuticorin, officials said.

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