Mangaluru

Whale shark washed ashore in Surathkal

A whale shark, listed as an endangered species under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, was found dead on Surathkal beach in Mangaluru on Saturday.

A whale shark, listed as an endangered species under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, was found dead on Surathkal beach in Mangaluru on Saturday.   | Photo Credit: H.S. MANJUNATH

It might have got drifted from its migratory route, says expert

A whale shark, listed as an endangered species under the Wild Life Protection Act, was found dead on Surathkal beach on Saturday.

According to A. Senthil Vel, professor and dean, College of Fisheries, Mangaluru, a team of scientists from the college led by him examined it and conducted the morphological biometry of the animal.

It could be between the age of seven and nine. Its length was 5.9 m and the body depth was 1.8 m. Its weight would be more than a tonne, the professor said.

When the team visited the beach the animal was bleeding from the mouth. It had lot of bruisers all along the body. It could have died after getting diverted from its migratory route and entering the shallow coastal waters. The coastal areas have rocky beaches and very strong currents and waves on account of the onset of monsoon.

The animal, which might have got drifted from its migratory route, must have encountered the strong waves and could have got hit with the rocks and boulders in the waters causing serious internal injury and bruisers. Hence it would have got washed on to the shore.

Mr. Vel said the probable cause of death due to consumption of plastic and other toxic materials cannot be ruled out. In this regard, the College of Fisheries will conduct an analysis to ascertain the actual cause of the death. The Forest Department has handed over the carcass to college for the analysis.

The female whale sharks gives birth to about 300 young, called pups, at a time. However, the survival rate is around 3% to 4% mainly due to over fishing and predation, Mr. Vel said.

Whale shark, which is a scheduled animal, is a highly migratory pelagic species distributed throughout the world’s tropical and warm temperate seas. In Indian water, the whale sharks are commonly found along the coast of Gujarat and Maharashtra where they come for feed, he said.

H.N. Anjanayappa, professor, Department of Fisheries Resources and Management, and Girisha, assistant professor, Department of Aquatic Animal Health and Management, were part of the team.

Why you should pay for quality journalism - Click to know more

Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Feb 19, 2020 6:01:16 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Mangalore/whale-shark-washed-ashore-in-surathkal/article28231436.ece

Next Story