A dead sperm whale was founded washed up on Yangkou harbour in Jiangsu on Sunday, and the corpse of another was found off Yellow River Bridge the next day just 10 kilometres away from the first.

One of the stranded sperm whales. Photo: Chinanews.com.

Jiangsu Marine Fishery Institute director Tang Jianhua confirmed that the two mammals were sperm whales – authorities are currently discussing what to do with them, Chinanews.com reported.

Photo: Chinanews.com

Yin Qiufeng, a fisherman from Changsha, said that he and another were working on the beach when they saw something which resembled a ship.

Authorities working to inspect the whales. Photo: Chinanews.com

“We thought that a ship had capsized, but then we realised it was a huge [whale]fish. We didn’t dare walk near it at first because we thought it was still alive,” he said.

Photo: Chinanews.com.

Tang said that this was the first time sperm whales had been found in the Nantong district. “Sperm whales are second-grade protected animals in China and are usually active in deepwater areas… sometimes they collide with ships, and they can also be affected by external disturbances which mess with their navigation system, making them lose their way.”

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Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.