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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (SIBC, April 8) – Some 51 whales
beached early today near Ramah in the Wainoni district of Makira Island, where
they were quickly butchered for food.

Conservation Officer Victor Kohia, of the Makira-Ulawa
provincial capital Kirakira, said a delegation from the provincial government
went to the scene but were too late to save the whales.

He said people slaughtered the creatures and carcasses were seen
lying on the reddened beach.

Kohia said the biggest whale measured 14 meters while the
smallest was measured at 3 meters long. The whale species is yet to be verified
by the Fisheries Division in Honiara.

Kohia said that a report is being compiled and samples of the
whales will be sent to the whaling commission for verification.

The cause of their beaching is not yet known but Kohia said he
suspects that the leader of the group may have gone closer to shore and gave a
distress signal luring the rest of the whales to follow on for support.

He said had the leader turned back, the whales might have gone
back to the sea.

This is the first time such a huge number of whales have beached
ashore in the area.

April 9, 2003

Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation: 

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