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Thursday, October 01, 2020

Alibaug: Tissue samples of whale carcass sent for DNA analysis

Marine biologist Harshal Karve, a member of the state-run Mangrove Cell, said: “The carcass is fully decomposed. Measuring its exact length, identifying the species and conducting postmortem is not possible. It looks like a Bryde’s whale, but we cannot be sure until the DNA analysis is done.”

Written by Sanjana Bhalerao | Mumbai | Updated: September 15, 2020 11:14:09 am
whale carcass, DNA analysis, forest department, Mumbai news, Indian express newsResearchers said that DNA analysis will reveal the gender and whale species.

The state forest department on Monday collected tissue samples from a decomposed carcass of a whale that washed ashore at Theronda in Alibaug on Sunday for DNA analysis. Researchers said that DNA analysis will reveal the gender and whale species.

Marine biologist Harshal Karve, a member of the state-run Mangrove Cell, said: “The carcass is fully decomposed. Measuring its exact length, identifying the species and conducting postmortem is not possible. It looks like a Bryde’s whale, but we cannot be sure until the DNA analysis is done.”

The cause of the death has also not been ascertained, Karve said. “It seems the whale died a few days ago at sea and washed ashore during high tide on Sunday,” he added.

Usually, the carcass of a decomposed marine animal is buried at the same beach where it washes ashore. In this case, the forest department was unable to reach the spot on the beach where the whale washed ashore.

Karve said, “Officers on the ground informed that the carcass was under water even during low tide. Also, the JCB was unable to reach the spot on the beach. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the department is facing shortage of labourers in the area.”

There is no settlement in the 5-km radius of the spot on the beach where the whale washed ashore, said officials.

Dolphin, porpoise, turtles and whales are usually found stranded along the Konkan coast. Earlier this year, a carcass of a 57-ft whale was washed ashore Murud beach in Ratnagir. The cause of death still remains unclear. In most cases, by the time the forest department responds to the incident, the animal’s body is decomposed, which makes postmortem examination impossible.

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