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HK Policemen Sad for Death of Baby Whale
"Although the baby whale failed to survive long after our rescue, it will always live in our memory!" the two Hong Kong police officers who assisted in re-launching a beached whale in Sai Kung last month said in Hong Kong Wednesday.

The false killer whale was found dead on the same beach where it was rescued on Aug. 20, only one day after it was rescued.

It probably died from a lung infection, according to the police.

"Although we understand that not every rescue attempt has a happy ending, we are very sad that it died so soon after getting back to sea," said Police Constables William Chik Wai-ho and Chan Ping-leung.

Chan added: "The incident reminds us of the sad fact that human beings and animals are sometime helpless in the struggle against nature. However, that does not mean that we should sit back and do nothing. Instead, we should always do our utmost in every rescue because if we never try, we will never win the battle!"

The two Sai Kung Division Patrol Sub-unit 1 officers were assigned to handle the case after the two-meter-long whale was reported beached in Tai Long Sai Wan of Sai Kung, one of the 18 districts of Hong Kong.

Chik said "because the scene was inaccessible by land vehicle and the poor weather made it impossible for any police vessel to get near the beach, we had to make our way there on foot."

After a strenuous 45-minute walk, the duo eventually reached the stranded whale where they found a warm-hearted local resident was trying to help it.

Chan said that the rescue was a test of their stamina.

"Carrying out a rescue with more than half of your body submerged in water was not an easy task. Whenever the waves pushed the whale's body towards the beach, we had to push it back to deeper water. It was an exhausting process," Chan said.

Fortunately, four marine animal researchers arrived and, working together, they had been able to get the baby whale safely into deeper water and it eventually swam away of its own accord.

"The poor weather and the feeling of tiredness, hunger and coldness had made our job even more difficult," said Chan, "however we had never thought of giving up because saving lives, human or otherwise, is our duty."

Chik explained: "unlike holding a fish, we could feel the whale's warmth and heartbeat when we held its body. We felt so close to the whale that we were inspired to do our very best for it."

(Xinhua News Agency September 4, 2002)

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