The carcass of a six-and-a-half-foot Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin washed ashore near Bhagwanlal Indrajit Road, Malabar Hill, on Friday morning, making this the eighth such case this year.
The carcass, wedged between rocks, was spotted around 11.30am during high tide, said the members of the local fishing community. Sanjay Bhonsle, a resident, said, “The animal had injuries on the fin, back and tail. It may have died a few days ago as the carcass was partially decomposed.”
Bhonsle said that police reached the spot and barricaded the path that leads to the sea. “The police were there for an hour and asked us not to allow anyone to enter the area or touch the dead animal. They asked the local municipal office to take away the carcass,” he said.
Officials from Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) disaster management cell said they burnt the carcass at the spot. “On receiving the complaint, our officers went to the site around 3.30pm and burnt the body as a foul smell was coming from it,” said an official from BMC’s disaster management cell.
Reacting adversely to this, officials from the state mangrove cell said the BMC had once again failed to inform the forest department before burning the carcass. They said they had written to the municipal commissioner asking him to ensure that civic officials notify the forest department about such cases before disposing off the carcasses.
“The carcasses of these mammals are required to ascertain the reasons why there have been so many deaths this year. I had written to the municipal commissioner about this. I will now raise the issue again as the civic officials continue to burn the carcasses before conducting post-mortem,” said N Vasudevan, chief conservator of forest, state mangrove cell.
In a similar incident in April, BMC officials had dumped a dead carcass of an Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin in a dumping ground after it surfaced at Marine Drive.
“We are disappointed by the BMC’s poor wildlife management efforts. There needs to be an immediate procedure in place to rectify such violations,” said Pawan Sharma, president, Resqink Association for Wildlife Welfare (RAWW).
Clueless about rising number of dolphin deaths
This is the eighth case of dolphin carcasses washing ashore this year. The authorities though are clueless about the reason behind the increasing numbers. Forest department officials said such cases have been happening over the years but there has been a rise in numbers this year.
“There have been cases in the past but more such cases are being reported now as animal lovers are informing the media about such instances,” said Kishore Thakre, deputy conservator of forest, wildlife department.
In the past
July 22: A six-foot-long carcass of an Indo-Pacific humpback was found at Bhuigaon beach, Vasai. It had several injury marks. It washed back into the sea owing to high tide, said local fishermen
June 17: The carcass of a seven-foot-long dolphin was found on Vasai beach
June 1: A mutilated carcass of a humpback whale was spotted at Manori beach. The internal organs had decomposed, leaving only the skin and skeleton
May 5: The carcass of a six-foot-long dolphin, identified as an Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin, was spotted at Versova beach
April 27: A six-foot-long dead dolphin was found wedged between rocks opposite Oberoi Hotel, Nariman Point