A surprising incident took place in sea shore of the Rajodi Beach, near Nalasopara of Mumbai. An averagely sized whale was washed away to the sea shore all of sudden, people tried to help the creature by pushing it back into the sea, but, as waves turned out to be intense, they ultimately failed to do so.
The seven-foot whale stranded at the beach in shallow waters on Thursday lost its life hours after struggling against the strong waves.
Sources claim that the whale was first spotted around afternoon 1.30 pm, the local fishermen who saw it immediately gathered and began trying to push the mammal into the waters, trying to help it make its way back into deeper waters.
“The waves were too strong and it was extremely difficult for people to even get near the struggling whale. Nothing seemed to be working, although, at one point, it seemed that it had made its way back. But then within seconds it was pushed out by the waves and it was evident that the whale was too weak to swim back,” said an eyewitness.
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Another local named James Rodrigues stated that by around 3 pm, the whale was lying lifeless on the beach. “Even then, some people made attempts to again push it into the sea, but we could feel that it was not responding and realized that nothing could be done. We all felt the pain as such a beautiful creature died,” said James.
Post the death, the locals soon decided to bury the whale as a large number of people began taking pictures and were calling more people on the beach. “We called the fire brigade and with the help of local people we dug a pit and buried the whale as we did not want a commotion nor the foul smell from the carcass to spread,” added the 51-Year-Old James.
This is not the first time, that such an incident has taken place. Earlier, the coastline has been witnessing several beachings of marine species including turtles, dolphins, porpoises, however, this ‘whale incident’ has garnered huge attention and the marine biologists said that looking at several images being circulated on social media, the female whale seemed to be either a dwarf sperm whale or a pygmy sperm whale.
On the other hand, researcher Mihir Sule, a member of Konkan Cetacean Research Team (KCRT) said that both the species belonged to the genus Kogia and should not be confused with sperm whales as it was a different family. He added that those whales are rare to spot as they are extremely shy, in fact, they also sport a skin folding just behind the eye that resembles the gills of a shark.
“As I got the information I contacted the Mangrove Cell and spoke to the officials and it was decided that we will be visiting the site on Friday to take tissue samples and we will also be able to identify the exact species after taking a closer look at the carcass,” said Sule.
Ketki Jog, another researcher from KCRT said that while she appreciated the efforts shown by locals in trying to push the whale back into the sea, she was glad that none of the people involved got injured.
“The whale was clearly struggling and fortunately it did not hit any of the rescuers accidentally, as such impacts could lead to serious injuries. Studies have shown that stranded animals are weak and even if they are pushed back into the sea, they might soon wash ashore and die,” explained Ketki.
Regarding further research on the carcass, an official from the Mangrove Cell has said that they will seek the help of locals and exhume the carcass as collecting the sample was extremely important.
“Since we do not have staff from the Mangrove Cell in the Vasai region, we have coordinated with the local forest department to ensure that there is no problem faced on Friday when marine biologists visit,” said the Assistant Conservator of Forest (ACF) Mangrove Cell, Makarand Ghodke.