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40 whales die in mass stranding on Indian island

Published on Oct 25, 2012 10:08 PM
 In this handout photograph released by the Andaman and Nicobar Islands Department of Environment and Forestry on October 25, 2012, over 40 short-finned pilot whales lie on the beach in a mass stranding on the west coast of the remote Indian Andaman islands in the Bay of Bengal on October 25, 2012. -- PHOTO: AFP

NEW DELHI (AFP) - About 40 whales died in a mass stranding on the west coast of India's remote North Andaman island in the Bay of Bengal, wildlife officials said on Thursday.

"The short-finned pilot whales were found by fishermen who alerted us and investigations show it was a case of mass stranding," said Mr Ajai Saxena, a wildlife official in Port Blair, capital of the islands.

Mr Saxena said no previous mass stranding had been reported in the Andamans, but that it was a natural phenomenon that occurs when whales get disoriented and are unable to swim back into deep water.

Stranding is also thought to occur when a pod follows a sick or an injured whale into the shallows, experts say.

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