( no commentary)Rescuers trying to save some of whales stranded on South Africa's coast,officials kill 35 stranded whales
South African National Sea Rescue Institute personnel and volunteers attempt to save some of the Pilot …
Sat May 30, 4:10 pm ET
CAPETOWN, South Africa (AFP) – South Africa officials shot dead some 35 whales in a group of 55 stranded on a beach in the south of the country after efforts to save them failed, scientists said Saturday.
The first whales washed up at 7:30 am (0530 GMT) on a beach off the Cape of Good Hope, at the southern tip of the country.
Officials from the South African National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) helped by dozens of volunteers tried to get the whales back into the water and out to sea again, but they could only save around 10 of them.
Ten others died on the shore, and the rest were shot to end their suffering.
"Approximately 35 whales were subject to humane euthanasia by the scientists, while NSRI volunteers, police officers and law enforcement officers monitored public safety," the NSRI said.
"The most humane way to perform euthanasia on whales is to shoot them through the brain, and this was successfully performed on those whales suffering on the beach," the institute said.
"We wish to stress emphatically that the most humane effort was employed to prevent further suffering of these animals."
The marine mammals weigh between four and five tonnes and measure up to 5.5 metres (18 feet).
The institute added that it did not know the reason why the whales washed ashore.
Some volunteers who tried to get the whales back into the sea had to be rescued themselves because they were carried away by strong waves.
"We have tried everything, but they just make a U-turn and keep rebeaching themselves," said Wally Peterson project manager for the Kommetjie Environmental Awareness group.
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