Whale Drags Down Boat With 12 Traditional Hunters on Board in Eastern Indonesia

By SP/Yoseph Kelen on 04:00 pm Aug 16, 2013
Category News

Kupang. Authorities in the eastern Indonesian district of Lembata continued to mount search efforts on Friday after a harpooned orca whale dragged down a boat with 12 traditional hunters on board, officials said.

“Four made it to Mulandoro but the  eight others have yet to be found,” Lamalera village chief Yoseph Dasion said.

Local fishermen, assisted by a local marine police unit, had failed to find any of the eight missing men by late on Thursday, he added.

Traditional whale hunters on the island of Lembata usually hunt sperm whales, locally known as koteklema, but the animals have become scarce in recent years. Orca whales, or seguni, are usually not hunted as they are known to be aggressive and difficult to catch.

“It took place near Tanjung Atadei in Lembata district. We have sent fishing boats to help search for the eight people who had been thrown out of their boat as it was dragged into the water,” he said.

Several whaling boats from Lamalera had seen the orca, he added, but only the Bero Blolong boat chose to pursue it.

Yoseph said that he had asked the district authorities to send motorboats to help the search efforts.

Lembata district chief Eliaser Yentji Sunur, said that he had coordinated with the naval base in Kupang, West Timor and sought boats and personnel to join the rescue attempt.

“Members of the Lembata district Youth Disaster Mitigation Force, have also been sent to Lamalera and hopefully the missing can be found safe and sound,” Eliaser said.

Local residents said that Orca are only pursued by hunters after feeding — usually on dolphins or whale cubs — as they are more vulnerable after having eaten.

Lamalera, on the southern tip of Lembata is one of only two traditional whaling communities on the island. Between them they usually hunt about a dozen sperm whales in a year.

  • Jane Green

    Good for the whales. Wish that happened more often. No need at ALL to be killing such intelligent animals.

  • PakLe

    Orcas are not whales

  • Irish Cornaire

    Idiots,orca mate for life,they deserved wot they got!

    • Meghan Pierce

      No they don’t. They actually form groups with a matriarch- that is a female leader. This matriarch is joined by her offspring and their offspring and so on.. The males usually stay longer with their mothers than their sisters, who go off and make their own groups.
      A pod consists of 1 or more matriarchal lines, usually no more than 4. They are usually closely related.

      Females breed with males from different pods… Which isn’t always the same male. The females are more connected to their pod than who they mate with.

  • 1gr8life

    Whale 1 – Fisherman- 0 Makes my day! Even the Orca wouldn’t want to eat them, probably shark food by now.

  • swipa

    Got exactly what they had coming to them. Instant karma.

  • Siper Bowl

    Orca are still hunted?! My God that is horrible….

    • Meghan Pierce

      Why is it so horrible? We hunt deer. We raise pigs in disgusting conditions, and pigs are smarter than dogs. Cephalopods (Octopus and squid) are eaten world wide, and they are at least self aware, if not more intelligent- we just can’t understand them because they have a completely different way of communicating and a very different brain structure.

  • HikeBikeSwim

    Leave the animals alone. Find another way to have adventure and make money.

    • Meghan Pierce

      These are “traditional” hunters. They are eating that whale, not making money off of it.

  • K.C.

    They need to leave orca whales alone – they are as smart or even more so than humans

  • patience

    What goes around comes around.

  • dingus

    Are these guys the problem? Probably been fishing the whale for centuries. Its the factory ships that kill in the thousands, leaving traditional fishermen like these with no choices.

  • Roland

    Nature’s revenge one can say. Certainly those Orca seem smarter than quite a bunch of those fishermen who not only hunt with explosives and cyanide in waters which are protected and destroying mindlessly reefs without ever caring for the collateral destruction they cause, hunting sharks just to cut their fins off and leave the animal itself alive to bleed to dead – this time they were hunting Orca and the sheer strength of the animal turned against them.

    Captain Ahab and the while whale comes to mind. I just hope this accident will not cause any acts of revenge from other fishermen now hunting orcas just for the sake of it.

    • ditz

      I think you’re looking at the wrong kind of fishermen here. Have you seen how they hunt? They don’t hunt sharks during the traditional whaling period for sure..

      They are traditional whaling communities with a very limited number of whales (or orcas) to kill in a year because they are a people believing in harmony between the sea and their lives. They use small long boats and spear or even bare hands, no chemicals or big nets or explosives, miles away from what Japanese whalers are doing.

      Whaling here is about providing for the villagers’ sustenance, just enough meat for the wole village. It is a processfilled with religious rites and taboos – not some wanton hunting using grenade harpoon. For example, hunting of blue whales is especially forbidden as it is believed that the giant sea mammal had rescued the villagers’ ancestors a long time ago.

      Local custom dictates that the meat of a whale should be equally distributed among the villagers so that no one is left hungry.

  • Wonderer

    Then what are they? Lung breathing, live born, fish?!?

    • kaylumn

      Orcas are actually Dolphins

      • Roland

        Hmm, I’m confused now.

        I quote:”The killer WHALE (Orcinus orca), also referred to as the orca whale or orca, and less commonly as the blackfish, is a toothed WHALE belonging to the oceanic DOLPHIN family.

        (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Killer_whale)

        • Paul Jakma

          Orcas are part of the dolphin family, which are toothed whales, a sub-order of the order of whales. The other living sub-order of the whales are the baleen whales, which have combs in their mouths rather than teeth, for filter feeding. Humpbacks, Right, Grey and Blue whales are all baleen whales.

      • Roland

        PS: Here’s another link which again specifies that orcas are actually dolphins.

        What is here particular interesting is that it states that orcas never attack humans outside of captivity…

        http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2011/04/killer-whales-are-actually-dolphins/

        • Paul Jakma

          Yes, orcas are dolphins. Dolphins are whales. So Orcas are BOTH dolphins and whales at the same.

      • Wonderer

        True. And Dolphins are whales, especially if longer than 3m – which I suppose any Orca dragging down a 12 people whaler boat must have exceeded…:
        “Whale, any of the larger species of aquatic mammals belonging to the order Cetacea. The term whale can be used in reference to any cetacean, including porpoises and dolphins, but in general it is applied to those more than 3 metres (10 feet) long.” Encyclopædia Britannica

        They are often confused with sharks though…and THAT is wrong.

  • Forgetyourself

    Very sad – not for the dead fishermen though – but for the inevitable backlash; i guess the locals will now go out and try to kill all orca whales as revenge.
    The same situation happened in south Sumatra with the elephants. Locals slaughtered them. So sad

    • Meghan Pierce

      Actually… probably not. They aren’t hunting orcas for revenge- they hunt them for food.

  • Troublemaker

    Orca’s are classified as dolphins, not whales…

    • Paul Jakma

      Dolphins are toothed whales, part of the whale order of marine mammals.

  • Rustynails

    “No need at ALL”. Well except the need to feed and cloth their families oh wait they can just pop down to the local unemployment office….not. You took time to write here, did you take time to write to the Japanese Embassy with their factory ships plundering the oceans of the Pacific.

  • sheldon

    Hope that the Orca recovers OK

  • ditz

    To everyone that says they don’t care about the environment etc2.. I think you’re looking at the wrong kind of fishermen here. Have you seen how they hunt? They don’t hunt sharks during the traditional whaling period for sure..
    They are traditional whaling communities with a very limited number of whales (or orcas) to kill in a year because they are a people believing in harmony between the sea and their lives. They use small long boats and spear or even bare hands, no chemicals or big nets or explosives, miles away from what Japanese whalers are doing.

    Whaling here is about providing for the villagers’ sustenance, just enough meat for the wole village. It is a processfilled with religious rites and taboos – not some wanton hunting using grenade harpoon. For example, hunting of blue whales is especially forbidden as it is believed that the giant sea mammal had rescued the villagers’ ancestors a long time ago.

    Local custom dictates that the meat of a whale should be equally distributed among the villagers so that no one is left hungry.

    If anything, they are very communal people who respect the environment around them enough.

    • guest

      Absolutely Hunting a whale means providing food for several months. It can’t be compared to modern fisherman who hunts kaviar…

  • the

    It will happen. The people will seek revenge on whales, dolphins, whatever crosses their path. I’m sure it will be to appease some fishing god or some other stupid thing. People suck.

    • Meghan Pierce

      Uh… no. They eat them. Not for religion. Not for revenge, but because that’s what they have been eating. It’s not them that have hurt the populations of whales, but actually the whale oil industry so long ago. That decimated many populations of whales years ago. The Japanese hunting isn’t helping the whales recover any, but it’s nothing near like what Europeans were doing 100 years ago.

  • Hunter

    I’d like to learn more of these fisherman, there community and whether or not it is truly sustainable fishing or going to world market. While I am an advocate for the orca, I am not against small village hunting for sustainability.

    • Meghan Pierce

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-465987/The-stone-age-whale-hunters-kill-bare-hands.html

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whaling#Indonesia
      “Lamalera, on the south coast of the island of Lembata, and Lamalera on neighbouring Solor are the two remaining Indonesian whaling communities. The hunters obey religious taboos that ensure that they use every part of the animal. About half of the catch is kept in the village; the rest is bartered in local markets. In 1973, the United Nations’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) sent a whaling ship and a Norwegian whaler to modernize their hunt. This effort lasted three years, and was not successful. According to the FAO report, the Lamalerans “have evolved a method of whaling which suits their natural resources, cultural tenets and style.”[19]“

  • DanielaBress

    That’s really good news; too bad that four of them did it!

  • Buy21

    Yeah…we lose at the end.. For every action there be an equal and opposite reaction… They should of known better… Stupid is was stupid does, as natural as it gets…

  • tulangikan

    eh? orca? there’re no orcas in Lembata water. I bet it was spermwhale.

  • bang2tang
  • Monika Koestler

    Well isn’t that just a shame? Good for the whale