Andhra Pradesh

Krishna estuary turning a death trap for whales

A carcass of a Baleen Whale at Eelachetladibba island in Krishna estuary in Krishna district.

A carcass of a Baleen Whale at Eelachetladibba island in Krishna estuary in Krishna district.  

Three dead marine mammals washed ashore this year alone

The Krishna estuary has turned into a death trap as it had witnessed three gigantic whales, including a Baleen Whale, which were washed dead off the estuary since early this year. However, mystery shrouds over the death of the whales as the third dead whale washed ashore off the estuary at the Eelachetladibba island this week. The island is nestled between the river Krishna and the Bay of Bengal, serving as a safe habitat for many marine species - Dolphins, Olive Ridley Turtles, and Rays - given its unique ecological system.

Dead on arrival

Speaking to The Hindu, Avanigadda Forest Ranger (Wildlife) Ms. Bhavani has confirmed the arrival of a dead whale at the Eelachetladibba island this week. It is believed to be washed ashore dead. In August, a Baleen Whale has washed dead on the same island. Its carcass is still present on the island with bones dismantled.

The irony is that the State Wildlife Management authorities did not attempt to record the dead whales and reasons for the mortality, and leaving the carcasses on the island. Their reason? Lack of staff to attend to such cases. Whales fall in the Schedule-I species under the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972, which guarantees its protection and conservation from various threats.

Blame the weather

“The existing weather conditions in the estuary are not safe to venture into it to recover the body of the dead whale. We are gearing up to recover it whenever the weather supports,” added Ms. Bhavani. On the possible reason for the whaleas’ death, former Zoology Professor of Andhra University E.D. Babu has observed: “Unfavourable conditions at the confluence point due to change in the availability of Oxygen level and water parameters are suspected to be a few threats for the whales in the Krishna estuary. A whale cannot survive in the low tide areas if it is stranded for some hours, leading to its mortality.”

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Printable version | Jun 6, 2020 8:13:45 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/krishna-estuary-turning-a-death-trap-for-whales/article29693650.ece

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