Local fishermen saved 36 whales that stranded themselves on a beach in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, while 45 died. The pod of whales started beaching themselves on Monday afternoon along a coast in Thoothukudi.

It is a quite unusual phenomenon. Marine scientists said the short-finned pilot whales are deep water whales, diving up to 1,000 metres and forming matrilineal kinship groups. This particular group could have stranded while in search of food, the favorite being squids.

A similar incident was reported on January 14, 1973, when 147 whales were stranded on the beach almost the same location. They survived for a few days but later all died.

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