When local villagers found the 4-5 meter-long whale at around 5 a.m. local time, the animal was still alive.
"But when the sea water receded, the whale's body hit a coral reef. And we noticed that the whale was later dead," Tolotio Village Chief Marlen Hamdata said.
Several local villagers had tried to save the whale by pushing it back into the waters. They, however, failed to do so because the waters receded and the whale was too heavy.
Pilot whales are known to locals as "Pau Pausu", and are rarely found stranded on the coast.
Rescue efforts to save stranded mammals such as whales, dolphins and dugongs require a special method, according to the Makassar Marine Coastal Resource Management Center (BPSPL). Last year, a dead sperm whale washed ashore in Southeast Sulawesi Province, with a large lump of plastic waste in its stomach, including flip-flops and 115 drinking cups.
Rescuers from Wakatobi national marine park found the rotting carcass of the 9.5 metre (31ft) sperm whale near the park after receiving a report from environmentalists that villagers had surrounded the dead whale and were beginning to butcher the rotting carcass, park chief Heri Santoso said.
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