Mumbai Local

Half a whale washes ashore at Nariman Point

The top half of a whale washed ashore at Nariman Point was spotted on Sundaywhen early morning strollers called the police after noticing a foul smell. While the whale’s mutilated body was lifted and buried at Airoli, a search in the sea for the remaining part of the body by forest officials remained futile.

“We rushed to the site as soon as we got a call, ” said Jayraj Manjrekar, the Supervisor of Solid Waste Management (A Ward). The operation, however, did not start until 8 in the morning, with most workers on leave on account of May Day.

“We needed cranes, but work could start only after we managed to assemble a team. We tied the whale, lifted it up and loaded it by 9.30 a.m. Transporting the whale was a problem since it was too big to fit into the dumper,” said Mr. Manjrekar.

Even as officials figured a way of lifting the whale, locals gathered to catch a glimpse of the mammal. “I did not see the whale, but noticed 80-100 people at the traffic signal near Air India building, taking pictures,” said Zoheb Sheikh, in-charge of valet parking at the Trident. The crowd dispersed by 10.30 a.m., he said.

The crowd had started gathering since early morning. “My shift starts at 6 a.m. When I reached, I found people assembled in the area and looking at the whale. A few hours later, the authorities arrived with cranes and pulled the body out,” said Rajesh Singh Patel, the janitor of the public restroom on the jogging track.

Forest officials said they were not entirely sure of the species of the whale. “The whale that washed ashore was largely decomposed. Determining whether it was a Humpback Whale or a Sperm Whale is tough, but, it is most likely the former. Only the front portion was retrieved, which measured more than four meters,” said Makarand Ghodke, the Assistant Conservator of Forest of the Mumbai Mangrove Conservation Unit.

Forest guard Deepak Zugre said, “The whale was decomposed, its organs were putrefied and falling apart. A necroscopy on such a body was not possible. It was, thus, handed over to the Forest Department by the BMC. We have buried it at Airoli, Sector 10.”

Officials launched a search operation for the whale’s missing half, which they think could have been cut by a ship. “We plan to extract the skeleton later and putting it up on display at the upcoming International Marine Interpretation Centre at Airoli,” said Mr. Ghodke.

Officials launched a

search operation for

the whale’s missing half, which they think could have been cut by a ship

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Printable version | Dec 6, 2020 3:51:26 AM |

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