Mass Whale Stranding off Africa





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Published on May 24, 2008

More than 100 pilot whales, which have bulbous foreheads and can grow to over 4 metres long, beached themselves overnight at Yoff. Yoff is a traditional Lebou fishing community on the Cap Vert peninsula, mainland Africa's most westerly point. Lets take a look:

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Senegalese fishermen dragged dozens of stranded pilot whales back out to sea this Wednesday but at least 20 more died on the beach.

[Iba Dieye, Fisherman from Yoff]:
"No one slept last night because all the fishermen were called out to help save the whales."

Hours after the mass stranding, local adults and children were still trying to haul some of the remaining live whales back into the waves.

Local fishermen said they would need government help to remove the dead whales from the beach.

They say the rotting carcasses could cause disease and infection.

[Kabore Alassi, Professor, Dakar's Veterinary School]:
"All animal carcasses should be destroyed and shouldn't be eaten. But this is Africa, and if the area is not secured, people are tempted to cut off a piece of flesh, some for their animals, like their dogs, and some to eat themselves."

Local experts said a similar mass beaching of whales had occurred at the same spot some 30 years ago.

Some residents had fallen ill after eating meat from the dead whales.



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