The bodies of at least 20 whales have washed up on a Senegal beach, residents said today.
Villagers living beside the beach in Dakar said up to 100 whales were spotted last night, veering closer and closer to the shore.
This morning many of them had been beached. A photographer counted at least 20 dead whales, but the toll may be far greater.
Each of the beached whales were the size of an adult man, according to witnesses. Children tried to encourage the other whales that were trying to swim ashore back out to sea.
Fishermen tied a cable to one of the beached whales and used a wooden boat to tow it out to sea.
Others placed a roller, used to move boats, under the body of another whale stuck in the sand and tried to push it towards the water but gave up when it became clear the whale was near death.
When it was obvious that many of the whales were dead, children began playing with the bodies, jumping up and down on the carcasses and using them as slides.
Some villagers began cutting pieces off one of the dead whales, saying they planned to use the blubber for massage oil.
Officials could not immediately be reached for comment. People living near the beach in Dakar said they had never experienced anything like it before.