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Study needed on unusual deaths of whales on Odisha coastline: scientists

The carcass of a whale washed ashore on the newly formed sand bar in the sea off Gokharakuda village in Ganjam district on February 11, 2016.

The carcass of a whale washed ashore on the newly formed sand bar in the sea off Gokharakuda village in Ganjam district on February 11, 2016.  

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It is said climate change could be a reason

Environmentalists have expressed the need to conduct a scientific study behind the “unusual deaths” of whales after at least four carcasses were washed ashore on Odisha coastline this month.

The body of the last whale was found near Purunabandh off Ganjam coast, 50 km from here, on February 11. Forest officials said the carcass might be of a porpoise whale. The six-feet-long whale was washed ashore in a decomposed condition. The whale might have died in the deep sea about four to five days ago before the carcass was spotted, Divisional Forest Officer, Berhampur, A.K. Behera, said.

Gentle giants washed ashore

Carcasses of a 66-foot whale and a 50-foot whale were recovered at Chinchiria and Motagaon in Kendrapada and Puri districts on February 5 and February 9 respectively.

On February 3, forest personnel had recovered a 33-foot dead sperm whale near Podampeta along Ganjam coast.

Letter shot off to MoEF

“We have written a letter to the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change urging it to conduct a study by the experts on the unusual death of the whales,” Chief Wildlife Warden S.S. Srivastav, said. He said movement of ships and fishing trawlers in deep sea in this region was negligible.

The mammals might have died due to something that happened in the deep sea. Experts should find out the reasons, Mr. Srivastav said.

Could it be climate change

Climate change, which affects the sea, might be the cause of the death of whales, Professor at marine science department in the Berhampur University, K.C. Sahu, said.

Apart from Odisha coast, several dead whales were also washed ashore recently in Tamil Nadu, Mumbai and Goa recently.

“The phenomenon is very unusual,” Sahu added. PTI COR SKN MM ISH 02221405

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Printable version | Jan 29, 2020 10:36:36 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/Study-needed-on-unusual-deaths-of-whales-on-Odisha-coastline-scientists/article14093880.ece

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