The decomposed carcass of a whale washed ashore at Theronda in Alibag, 110 km south of Mumbai on Sunday, said forest officials and marine biologists.
According to marine biologist Harshal Karve from the Mangrove Foundation, local residents from the area shared images, which were sent to a marine respondents group and further forwarded to the territorial forest department and mangrove cell.
“From the images, we cannot make out the exact length or the identification of the species. It looks like a Bryde’s whale but we cannot be sure unless we reach the spot,” said Karve.
According to the state mangrove cell, this is the sixth whale to have washed ashore a Maharashtra beach since November last year. Between November 2019 and September 2020, 24 cetaceans have washed ashore along the Konkan coast including nine Indian Ocean humpback dolphins, five finless porpoise, two striped dolphins, and six whales (including the recently unidentified one) of which five were Bryde’s whales.
Forest officials said they had already informed a team to reach the spot. “We received the details on Sunday evening and a team will take stock of the situation. From the images, it seems the whale may have died a few days ago at sea and washed ashore during high tide on Sunday. All necessary protocols (post mortem, collection of tissue samples etc.) will be followed before the carcass is buried,” said Ashish Thakre, deputy conservator of forest (Alibag).
The Mangrove Foundation under the state mangrove cell, Konkan Cetacean Research Group etc. have documented endangered marine mammals such as the Blue whale, Sperm whale, Arabian Sea Humpback whale, Bryde’s whale, Indian Ocean humpback dolphins, and finless porpoise along Maharashtra’s coastline.