Sometimes it takes an army to save a stranded whale. Troops from the Security Forces Headquarters - Mullaittivu (SFHQ-MLT) in southern Sri Lanka rallied together with local fishermen and villagers last week to help save a 70-foot (21 metre) whale entangled in a fishing net.

Sri Lanka Whale Rescue 1 2015 10 30

The incident occurred last Friday when officials received reports of a whale that had become trapped close to the shoreline, unable to free itself from a fishing net. Officials rushed to the scene to help out. Inclement weather and rough seas added to the already mammoth task of freeing the struggling animal.

It took a lot of manpower, a backhoe and eight hours of 'elbow grease', but rescuers were eventually able to remove the net and help the whale on its way.

The southern tip of Sri Lanka lies close to the deep waters of the continental shelf, and it’s a popular spot for whale watchers (especially if you’re looking to catch a glimpse of the world’s largest mammal, the blue whale). It’s difficult to tell from the photos what species this is, but our best guess would be a sperm whale. Hats off to the Sri Lankan army for helping out!

Sri Lanka Whale Rescue 2 2015 10 30
Sri Lanka Whale Rescue 3 2015 10 30
Sri Lanka Whale Rescue 4 2015 10 30
Sri Lanka Whale Rescue 5 2015 10 30
Sri Lanka Whale Rescue 6 2015 10 30

Header image: Harald MM