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More sightings of humpback dolphins off Mumbai, but expert not surprised

Crediting social media and improved smartphone cameras for the increased sighting of these aquatic mammals, an expert highlighted how misinformation on the subject hampers the work they have been doing.

By: Trends Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: February 23, 2021 10:30:27 am
dolphins, dolphins in bandra, humpback dolphins, dolphins in india, mumbai news, indian express, twitter, twitter reactions, trending, indian express newsEarlier this month, dolphins were spotted near Mumbai’s Sassoon Docks.

During the lockdown weeks and after, several videos of dolphins being spotted in Mumbai waters had brought cheer among netizens and given currency to a narrative that the containment of human activity had given nature the time to heal. The latest sighting was midway between Alubaug and Gateway of India on Sunday, when a pod of dolphins decided to play around a boat coming back to the city.

With the dolphins frolicking off the coast of the Maximum City, the videos have made many of us — cooped up inside our houses — happy indeed. However, the aquatic animals didn’t make a sudden appearance due to humans staying inside their homes, it is a phenomenon that has existed for several years.

“I know people who have been seeing them (dolphins) for 20-25 years now,” Shaunak Modi Co-founder of Coastal Conservation Foundation, Mumbai told the indianexpress.com. “These are Indian Ocean humpback dolphins. They are coastal species, which means they live in nearshore waters and we have been seeing them every single day for a few years now,” he added.

Refuting claims that the lockdown imposed during the pandemic helped lower water pollution levels resulting in the increased sighting of the dolphins, he said, “These animals live in Mumbai waters. It’s not like some rare sighting or they have come from somewhere. These are resident dolphins. This is the habitat that they live in. It has no connection to pollution or lockdown.”

Crediting social media and improved smartphone cameras for the increased sighting of these ‘cosmopolitan’ aquatic mammals, Modi highlighted how misinformation on the subject hampers the work they have been doing. “The fact that there are dolphins in Mumbai waters should be a reason why the water should be cleaned up. This is why so much sewage shouldn’t make it to the sea.”

While in December last year, dolphins were spotted in Vashi Creek near Mumbai, recently some caught the sight of a pod of Humpback Dolphins near the Bandra-Worli sea link. However, many such videos of the dolphins have been repeatedly shared on social media. Here, take a look:

There are around 40 species of dolphins worldwide, the largest and heaviest of which are the orcas weighing 11 tons and over 30 feet long. The smallest weighs 50 kg and is just over five-and-a-half feet long. The rare blind Ganges river dolphin was once commonly found in the Ganges and its tributaries. Its numbers are less than 4,000, as per some estimates. The Indus river dolphin, found in Pakistan, numbers just 1,500.

Coastal Conservation Foundation is a Mumbai-based non-profit organisation that is working towards marine conservation.

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