Whale, dugong washed ashore

For the first time a sperm whale has been found near the Palk Strait

Published - October 21, 2012 01:07 pm IST - RAMANATHAPURAM

A Whale ashore at Vadakadu sea shore in Rameswaram. Photo: L. Balachandar

A Whale ashore at Vadakadu sea shore in Rameswaram. Photo: L. Balachandar

A 14-metre-long male whale, which has been dead for at least 10 days and a dead dugong (Kadal pasu), measuring two metre long, were found washed ashore in the Vadakadu and Panaikulam seashore, respectively, off the Palk Strait in Rameswaram on Saturday morning.

Additional Conservator of Forest T. Rajendran, who inspected the carcasses, along with N. Nagarajan, Ranger, Tuticorin, said the whale’s circumference measured 10-metre.

The front fin was 1.5 metre long and the head measured 3.5 metre. He identified it as Sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus).

Citing records, he said this was for the first time, a sperm whale, which live in deep sea, has been washed ashore off the Palk Strait.

The carcass was highly decomposed and tail portion got severed and found washed ashore 200 metres away in the coast, he told The Hindu .

Sei whales (Belaenoptera borealis) have earlier been washed ashore off the Gulf of Mannar, he said.

Due to seasonal changes, especially during the withdrawal of the southwest monsoon and setting in of northeast monsoon, the mammal would have lost its way.

It could have either crashed into rocks or died of starvation, he said. The exact reason for its death, however, could not be ascertained, he added. The carcass would be buried in the coast after post-mortem on Saturday evening or Sunday morning, Mr. Rajendran said.

Earlier, on being informed by the local fishermen, S. Venkatachala Boopathi, Forest Ranger and M, Jafer Forester, also visited the carcass.

Mr. Nagarajan said the dead Dugong at Panaikulam seashore was buried after post-mortem. Its width measured 134 cm and it weighed 400 kg, he said. It had no injuries and could have died after hitting against rocks, he said.

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