Delayed breeding season to blame for beached whales | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Delayed breeding season to blame for beached whales

The recent spate of whales getting beached on the coast around Mumbai might be due to a delay in the mammals’ breeding season, resulting in stranding of the whales, a marine biologist has observed.

mumbai Updated: Apr 14, 2012 02:35 IST
Nikhil M Ghanekar

The recent spate of whales getting beached on the coast around Mumbai might be due to a delay in the mammals’ breeding season, resulting in stranding of the whales, a marine biologist has observed.

According to marine biologist Dr Vinay Deshmukh, principal scientist, CMFRI, severe cold during this year’s winter might have delayed the mammals’ breeding season.

Since March, more than six big sea mammals, including whales and dolphins, have got washed ashore.

Out of these, four were found around Mumbai while others have been recorded at Dapoli and Velas in Ratnagiri district. The Central Marine Fishing Research Institute (CMFRI), Andheri, is now investigating the cases and will come out with a report by next week.

“I think these whales cannot die due to oil poisoning. More than oil, heavy metals and other chemicals are harmful to them. They also have an acute sense of navigation and know how to avoid large ships,” said Dr Shankar Gajbhiye, chief scientist, National Institute of Oceanography.

Since December last year, a number of dead turtles have been washed ashore in Velas, Dapoli and surrounding beaches in the Ratnagiri district. “There have been 50 turtle deaths since December. The turtles must surely be getting caught in dragnets,” said Vishwas Katdare of Sahyadri Nisarg Mitra.

“I saw the carcass of a Bryde whale shark in March first week. It was washed ashore in Burondi in Dapoli and a dolphin was found dead in Maral,” said Sahila Kudalkar, a resident of Dapoli.

Although aquatic animals such as whales, turtles and dolphins getting washed ashore or getting caught in nets across the state’s coastal region is not an uncommon phenomenon, the frequency of such incidents has perplexed marine biologists and environmentalists.