A stranded whale estimated to be about 16 meters (52 feet) long has died on a beach on Malaysia’s Borneo island, apparently resisting efforts to return it to the sea, an official said Friday.
The whale was spotted Thursday on a beach in Sabah state in eastern Malaysia but died the same day, said Julin Bagang, a local fisheries department official.
He said his team had tried to tow the whale back into the sea using two boats several times. Firefighters also sprinkled the whale with sea water.
“We tried to pull him into the sea… but he didn’t want to go into the sea,” Bagang told AFP, adding that each time rescuers towed the animal into the water, it would swim back to the beach.
He said he was not sure what was wrong with the whale, which had some cuts but did not look seriously injured. He also could not identify the type of whale.
Bagang said it was the first time a whale was stranded at this beach on Sabah’s west coast. The Star daily reported three other whales were previously beached along that coast on the South China Sea.
The New Straits Times said hundreds of people came to see the whale with some using empty paint cans to fetch water from the sea and pour it onto the whale.
Malaysia shares Borneo island with Brunei and Indonesia.