Third whale death sends forest dept into tizzy

After a third whale was found dead along the Konkan coast in the span of a week,the state forest department is investigating the cause of death of each of the animals at the divisional level.

Written by Aakriti Vasudeva | Published: April 10, 2012 5:22 am

After a third whale was found dead along the Konkan coast in the span of a week,the state forest department is investigating the cause of death of each of the animals at the divisional level.

A whale belonging to the humpback species was found dead at Diveagar coast in Raigad district last week. This came after one whale each,of the same species,was found beached at Uran and off Priyadarshini Park,Napean Sea Road on March 29 and March 31 respectively.

“We are investigating each of the cases at the divisional level. It is possible that the cause of death of each animal may be different,” RK Pole,Chief Conservator of Forests(CCF),Thane said.

Sarfaraz Khan,Deputy Conservator of Forests (DCF) Roha and incharge of the Diveagar case,said he has written to the National Institute of Oceanography for their expertise in marine biology. “We have also written to the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) to ascertain if the death has anything to do with marine pollution,” he said.

The Alibaug division is investigating the Uran case and will prepare a report soon. However,the Mumbai case has not been assigned yet. “The area falls under my jurisdiction but I have not been asked to investigate the matter yet,” G T Chowhan,DCF Thane said.

The cause of death may be ascertained only on the basis of photographs as no post mortems were likely conducted in any of the cases,due to the highly decomposed nature of the bodies,sources said.

“The whale was badly decomposed and was putrefying thus the vet we consulted said a post mortem will not be possible,” Khan,about the Diveagar whale said.

Meanwhile,the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute(CMFRI) has launched its own detailed study on the matter. “This report has not been commissioned by the government or any agency but we are doing it out of concern. We are seriously looking at finding the cause of death and are in the process of preparing a detailed report,which may be ready in a week or so,” Dr Vinay Deshmukh,Principal Scientist,CMFRI said.

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