Two halves of a 44-foot decomposed carcass of a whale washed ashore on two different Mumbai beaches on Sunday.
While one-half was found at Juhu beach, the other portion was found nearly 10 km away at Madh beach. The deceased marine mammal found on Sunday takes the count to 14 carcasses which have washed ashore Mumbai’s beaches this year and the toll of beached marine mammals like whales, dolphins and porpoises now stands at 74, officials said.
“Six metres of decomposed tail was found in Juhu. On further inspection we found that the organs were present but they were not intact. The tail was in a deteriorated condition and its tail fins were probably washed away. We couldn’t conduct a necropsy (surgical examination) and didn’t even know what species it was,” said Mihir Sule, a marine researcher.
Sule and members from the mangrove cell of the state forest department were notified about the tail at Juhu beach on Sunday morning. It wasn’t until the evening that they were alerted of a heavily decomposed head.
“The head portion was 7.7 metres and with the state of the skull we were able to identify the species as a Bryde’s whale as they have a distinct V-shape and three ridges on the jaw bone,” Sule added.
Now the marine teams were able to match two portions found respectively on Madh beach and Juhu beach to belong to the same species.
“The total length of the whale was 13.70 metres. It had decomposed at least a few weeks ago. We suspect due to the tidal waves crashing against the weakened decomposed body, the whale must have been split. Not much of it remained when it was found,” said Makarand Ghodke, assistant conservator of forest, state mangrove cell.
Both parts of the carcass will be buried where they were found and their tissue samples will be collected, officials said.
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