NAVI MUMBAI: A 42 feet long blue whale was washed ashore at the Revdanda coast, which is 17 km south of Alibaug. Forest officials had reportedly contacted marine biologists after spotting it on Wednesday when it was still alive and struggling to survive.
“This big whale was first spotted on the shore on Wednesday afternoon. It was initially showing signs of life, so the villagers tried to push it back in the sea. However, the whale later died,” informed a local resident.
Chief conservator of forests (mangroves cell), N Vasudevan, said: “It is unfortunate that this blue whale was stranded in the shallow sea and eventually died. The blue whales are the biggest species of earth, and can grow up to 100 feet.”
Vasudevan added that the dead whale was later buried on the beach at Revdanda on Thursday. This is reportedly the biggest sized whale to have washed ashore in and around Mumbai coast in recent times. Around two months ago another dead whale was found at the Uran coast of Raigad district; while several dead dolphins were also found around the Mumbai cost in the recent past.
“Marine creatures like dolphins and whales are being regularly spotted on the shores like this due to various reasons, including sea pollution due to our industrial effluents. The latest blue whale to be found at the Raigad district shows that our waters are rich in biodiversity, and that we must take care of our environment,” said activist, D Stalin.
Earlier this year, there was a wave of excitement among scientists after marine biologists from the Cetacean Population Study team had spotted live blue whales in the sea, close to the Konkan coast of Sindhudurg.
The latest dead blue whale was reportedly a young female.
Vasudevan added that way back in 1912, a blue whale and its calf had washed ashore in Ratnagiri, while in 1906, there was another dead blue whale sighting at Thane coast.
In and around the Maharashtra-Karnataka coast, we normally see Sperm whales and Bryde’s whales.
Famous naturalist and broadcaster, David Attenborough, had once described these giant mammals like this:
“Blue Whale’s tongue weighs as much as an elephant, its heart is the size of a car and some of its blood vessels are so wide you could swim down them. Its tail alone is the width of a small aircraft’s wings. Its streamlining, close to perfection, enables it to cruise at 20 knots – one of the fastest creatures in the sea. The ocean’s largest inhabitant feeds almost exclusively on one of the smallest, krill. A single whale can consume 40 million of them in a day. Despite their enormous size, we know very little about them.”
Almost 20 types of whales are found in the Arabian Sea. There are two basic types of whales – toothed and baleen. Baleen whales have a specialised filter in their mouths that blocks out dirt and other sea trash while these mammals drink the water.
Blue whales and Humpback whales, which were washed ashore in and around Mumbai coast earlier, belong to the baleen whale category.