Stranded whales near death on Bali beach

BALI, Indonesia Attempts to rescue the beached whales, a rare occurrence on Bali, have been abandoned, said Bali's Fisheries and Marines Department officer Nyoman Wirna Ariwangsa.

"They are in critical condition now," he said.

The two short-finned pilot whales, a protected species, were both extensively scratched and bruised, apparently from fishing nets at sea. Their carcasses will be buried before they decompose, Ariwangsa said.

The pair was among four whales that washed ashore Saturday near Tanah Lot Beach, one of the most popular and picturesque tourist destinations on the island province, Ariwangsa said.

Dozens of locals hauled all four of the 7-foot (2.1-meter), 1,000 pound (450 kilogram) whales into the shallow water. Fishing boats successfully led two back to sea, he said. But waves washed another two back to shore.

"Powerful tidal waves are believed to have separated them from their pod and left them stranded here," Ariwangsa said.

Live whales rarely become beached on Bali, although 10 dead whales -- eight short-finned pilot and two giant sperm -- washed ashore in February in stormy weather.

Locals butchered their carcasses for the oil, which they use as a traditional medicine.

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