Mexican authorities struggled for 15 hours to rescue over two dozen short-finned pilot whales that had beached themselves on the weekend, but managed to save just three of the mammals, environmental protection officials said on Sunday.
The 27 protected whales had swum aground late Saturday in a beach near San Felipe, in Mexico’s Baja California region.
Officials from the PROFEPA federal environmental protection agency, soldiers and fishermen tried to keep them hydrated and push them back to deep water. But low tide and the whales tendency to swim back towards the shore doomed most of the animals.
“We only managed to rescue alive two adult pilot whales and a calf,” PROFEPA said in a statement.
It said it thought the pod had become disoriented, as the whales showed no signs of damage or having been caught in fishing nets.
PROFEPA noted that pilot whales had strong social cohesion and “do not abandon other whales in danger, even if that means death”.