Just a year after a blue whale was spotted in maharasthra after a gap of a century, news of a young whale being rescued in Maharastra was doing the rounds of social media. A 47 Ft Blue Whale was rescued by proactive locals, NGOs and the forest officials off Ratnagiri late evening on September 10. The incident is already being called as “biggest rescue of a marine mammal ever.” It is being said that the young adult had lost its way in shallow waters for two days before being found by locals of the Madban village near the Jaitapur Nuclear Plant in Ratnagiri.
According to reports, the beached whale had protruding ribs and looked dehydrated an emaciated. Officials said that for a whale to become this skinny, it might have been hungry for over two months. After a dead whale washed ashore on Juhu beach and another that didn’t survive in Alibag, the success of sending this mammoth whale back to the deep sea is nothing but miraculous. Mihir Sule, member of the Konkan Cetacean Research Team that spotted the first pair of blue whales last May, pointed out that all the whales that had been beached in the last two years were small, suggesting the likelihood of them being calves. “Adult blue whales are around 23 to 25 m (around 80 ft) long,” Sule said. “These are half that size. They are young animals. They are emaciated and cannot swim.” It takes months for animals of that size to lose enough weight for their ribs to become visible, he added, which indicated that they had not been feeding for a long while and were likely to have already been near death,” Scroll reported.
It took almost eight hours of continuous efforts by over 50 people and two boats to transport this 20 tonnes whale back to the deep sea from where it swam away on its own. “This was the second time a blue whale was rescued along the coast of Maharashtra. It is also being termed as one of the biggest rescue operations of a marine mammal along the Maharashtra coast by the officials. Officials say that many a times due to high tides, marine creatures are swayed towards the coastline.”If the high tides are strong enough then it can even push a blue whale to the shallow waters,” the official said as reported by News18.
Hindustan Times spoke to an official who said that the whale could have suffered an injury or an internal parasitic infection due to which it lost its navigation abilities and moved closer to the shore. “However, after the massive rescue operation, we saw the whale speed its way back into the deep sea,” the official told HT
Many have lauded the swift action of locals who informed the concerned authorities at the earliest. The Indian Express reported that the locals and officials were able to take correct actions due to the awareness they they through books on the subject matter which was available to them in Hindi and Marathi.
“The blue whale is the largest mammal in the world. It falls under the red list of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and schedule 1 of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1986. Last year, researchers identified 569 dolphins in Sindhudurg during 2014 and 2015, adding that the numbers could be even higher. Later, in February this year, Maharashtra announced plans to set up rescue centres for whales and dolphins in coastal districts after increasing cases of beached whales along the state’s shores,” reported India Today.
The constant beaching of whales along Maharashtra coast is a worrying trend but hopefully not unnoticed.
Feature Image Courtesy: Wikipedia.org