Carcass of blue whale washes ashore

The carcass of a blue whale washed ashore on Valinokkam beach in Ramanathapuram district on Sunday.

Senior officials from the forest department said the mammal weighing between seven and eight tonnes could not be lifted even by a large earthmover. Hence, the width of the animal could not be calculated.

Forest Range Officer, Kilakarai range, S. Sikkandar Batcha said the mammal was female and was sighted at 6.30 a.m. on the shore when officers were patrolling the area between Kilakarai and Thoothukudi range.

“The length of the mammal is at least 20 metres and it is estimated to have died around a month ago because the carcass is highly decomposed. The cause of death cannot be determined,” he said.

He added that this was only the second time ever when a blue whale had washed ashore in the area. “Sightings are rare too as they usually are at least 20 to 30 km away from our usual jurisdiction.”

Although members of the department acknowledged that there had been sightings of blue whales in the Gulf of Mannar region, no estimation of their population had been made yet.

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