In yet another incident pointing to possible threats to marine animals, a sub-adult tropical whale was washed ashore along the Kotivakkam beach on Friday night. The whale, measuring 30 feet, was spotted by fishermen and said to be in a decomposed state.
Its head was missing and only the long jaw bone was visible. According to P. Dhandapani, retired Chief of Marine Biological Station, Zoological Survey of India, who visited the site, the whale must have died seven to 10 days ago and the reason could be natural.
“What would have been shocking was if whales get stranded and ascend on the shore like pilot whales. They come and migrate to the shore for unknown reason,” he said. Members of the Tree Foundation, who revisited the shore on Saturday morning, said both the flippers seemed to be “mysteriously missing,” raising doubts about the cause of death.
“Awareness is the need of the hour and the fishermen community need to be educated,” said Supraja Dharini, chairperson, Tree Foundation. “This is the second whale to be stranded along the Kancheepuram coast in the last 34 days and the sixth along the Tamil Nadu coast.” Members of the Tree Foundation and the Sea Turtle Protection Force took samples of the blubber and skin, to analyse the level of toxicants. The skin sample would record the DNA for genetic analysis.
David Raj, Forest Range Officer, Headquarters (Wildlife), conducted the burial of the mammal. He said the Forest and Fisheries Department, local people and NGOs should come together to create awareness.