Forty-six whales stranded on a beach on the Indonesian island of Madura died Friday (February 19), while rescuers managed to push three back out to sea according to the provincial governor.
A rescue effort was launched on Thursday after dozens of pilot whales beached, with volunteers working together to save the mammals.
Some local residents also helped out, wading into the ankle-deep water to help push them into the sea.
The governor told Reuters that authorities plan to bury the dead whales on Saturday once the tide recedes and said two excavators had been brought in.
It is not fully understood why whales, which travel together in pods, beach themselves but they are known to follow a leader as well as gather around an injured or distressed whale.
NGO Whale Stranding Indonesia says more than 70 marine mammals were found stranded in 2020.