Forty-four of the 55 false killer whales beached in South Africa over the weekend had to be euthanized (shot in the brain), while the remainder died of organ failure or stress.
Hundreds of volunteers in wetsuits had tried to get the false killer whales to return to the ocean, but the whales inexplicably kept returning to the beach.
Once it was determined by the environmental affairs department that the whales needed to be put down, scuffles broke out with distraught locals who claimed officials lacked contingency plans to save the whales.
Officials later issued a warning to surfers to be on the lookout for great white sharks being drawn closer to shore in search of vulnerable whales or carcasses.
It’s not entirely known why whales strand themselves on beaches, but some people believe that naval sonar is one of the many potential culprits. However, the South African navy has rejected claims that it might have led to the stradnings, saying that ships used in nearby exercises weren’t even equipped with radar.