A 35-foot-long dead whale washed ashore at Mumbai’s Juhu beach on Thursday night. Late night joggers discovered the mammal and informed the police, who notified the forest department.
Thursday night follows a recent incident where carcasses of 38 baleen whales were washed ashore near the Tiruchendur beach in Tamil Nadu while more than 250 whales stranded in shallow waters were pushed back into the deep sea.
In June last year, a 42-foot-long blue whale was washed ashore at the Revdanda coast, about 17 km south of Alibaug in the neighbouring Raigad district. Forest officials had contacted marine biologists after spotting it when it was still alive and struggling to survive. However, the whale had later died.
The increasing frequency of whales washing ashore or being found in shallow waters is now of deep concern among environmentalists.
Only in 50% of such cases --- high frequency in north America --- the real reason for whales landing on the shore is known. It is a science under progress but India is way behind other global players in United States and Europe
Here are five reasons that could explain this:
1. Heavy underwater activity like earthquake or volcano can disturb whales resulting in their distress movement towards the coast.
2. Whales have a nature of moving against the waves. So, during ebbing when the water is receding from the shores into the ocean, whales may get caught in a situation when there is no water left to swim, resulting in getting beached on the coast. This is often a reason for whale found on coasts in North America.
3. Attack by bigger sea creatures like sharks may force the pilot whale to swim towards a perceived safer coast without understanding the consequence.
4. Man-made conditions like a ship causing injury to whales or its wreckage or oil spills have also been found to be a reason.
5. Rising noise pollution in sea is also a possible reason that causes distress movement and the high presence of plastic in the sea could choke the mammals. This was the case in Tuticorn where 45 whales were found dead recently.