Bantul, Yogyakarta. A nine-meter whale shark died early on Saturday morning after it was stranded on a beach in Yogyakarta, making it the second big fish to perish on a South Java beach during the past week.
Ali Sutanto, an official with the Yogyakarta office of the National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas), said on Saturday that the whale shark was first spotted at Pelangi beach in Bantul, Yogyakarta, on Friday evening.
“Our post received a report [of the shark] from the locals at about 7 p.m.,” Ali said, as quoted by Indonesian news portal tempo.co.
He added that the shark was initially still a half of kilometer away from the beach, but at midnight it washed ashore.
“The local SAR team immediately dispatched our entire 56 members to pull the shark to the beach. Police at Parangtritis and surrounding areas also helped us,” he said.
Ali said that rescuers initially tried to pull the huge whale shark toward the beach to keep it from being battered by waves in the shallow water.
The shark was still alive as rescuers finally managed to pull it shoreward, but the big fish struggled for breath, and died four hours later.
“We tried to pull it away from the waves all night. But it was difficult; [the shark] was too heavy,” Ali said. The remains of the shark sat on the beach on Saturday, drawing hundreds of spectators.
Animal Friends Jogja said the whale shark was about nine-meters long and two meters in width.
On Wednesday, another whale shark that was 13-meters long and weighed 3 tons — among the largest size of the species — died after it was stranded on Pandansimo beach, also in Yogyakarta.
And on July 28, rescuers managed to return a stranded sperm whale to sea in West Java after it spent four days trapped on Karawang beach. But the animal was found dead hours later.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) regards both whale sharks and sperm whales as “vulnerable.”