The city of Mumbai witnessed a 45-foot-long whale carcass that washed ashore in two pieces at Juhu and Madh beaches on Sunday. While one-half was found at Juhu beach, the other portion was found nearly 10 km away at Madh beach.
According to officials from the state mangrove cell, it was the largest mammal to have reached Mumbai’s coastline.
The state mangrove cell confirmed that the whale was a Bryde’s whale that was 13.7 metres in length. The Bryde’s whale is the most common baleen whale found along the Indian coast and it is protected under schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
Researchers from the Konkan Cetacean Research Team (KCRT) said the whale was a sub-adult. “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”, said Mihir Sule, member, KCRT.
“We collected tissue samples of the whale and it was a well-coordinated analysis with the mangrove cell. We can rule out the possibility of a ship strike cutting the whale into two because propeller marks on its body were missing. However, the exact cause of death is unknown”, Sule added. “We also observed that the whale’s body was scavenged upon by sharks, which is a common phenomenon.”