On 8th February (Monday), a 4-tonne whale was found stranded in shallow waters off the Pantai Rambah Recreational Park beach in Pontian.
It instantly created a buzz on social media as locals shared pictures and videos of the rescue mission, which took more than 3 hours.
MMO had quoted fisherman Ismail Sirat as saying, “Our efforts to pull and push the whale began at 2:30pm. We encountered difficulties as the whale kept returning to the shallow waters after we had pulled and pushed it to the deeper end.”
A total of 6 attempts were made to free the 20-metre long whale using a boat with a 115 horsepower outboard motor while 9 other people, including 2 firemen, pushed the whale. Eventually, they managed to pull the whale into the deeper end of the sea off Pontian at about 5:30pm.
However, a day later (9th February), a dead whale was found beached at the river mouth of Sungai Sarang Buaya. The carcass was discovered by local fishermen at around 4:45pm. At that time, Batu Pahat Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency enforcement chief Lieutenant Commander Maritime Muhammad Zulkarnain Abdullah said the agency was not able to say whether it was the same whale which was found near Pontian waters.
But it has since been confirmed by The Star Online that the dead whale was the same one found and rescued in Pontian.
Johor Fisheries Department Munir Mohd Nawi said, “This is the same whale that was found and rescued in Pontian waters a couple of days ago. The carcass is currently being towed to the department’s jetty here for a post mortem and find out its cause of death.”
He added that the mammal is from the highly endangered Balaenoptera borealis species, widely known as Sei Whale. It is the third largest of its kind in the whale family.