A group of researchers from the Konkan Cetacean Population Study (CPS) team between March and May 2015 spotted two Blue Whales (mother-calf pair) and four Bryde’s whales near Kunkeshwar off the Sindhudurg coast in Maharashtra.
This is for the first time after 100 years that the Blue Whales were sighted off the coast of Maharashtra. Last time, a blue whale was sighted in waters of Maharashtra was in 1914.
According to the records of the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) – a dead blue whale had washed ashore at the time.
The blue whales were spotted on 28 March 2015 approximately 2.7km offshore at a depth of 16 metres, while the Bryde’s whales were spotted four times on 11 April, 16 April, 30 April and 6 May 2015.
The whales were spotted during a survey carried out by researchers to study Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins along the Maharashtra coast under United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) project on Mainstreaming Coastal and Marine Biodiversity. The project is being implemented by the Maharashtra State Mangrove Cell.
Blue whales are marine mammals and they are the largest animals on Earth. They can reach an average length of 23-27 metres, with the largest known being 33 metres.
These animals tend to be open-ocean species, but they do come close to the shore to feed. Blue whales are resident or migratory, usually seen alone or in pairs.
The mammal is found across the Indian Ocean, southern parts of the Sri Lankan coast and quite often they have been found to migrate to parts of Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea. In the recent past, another sighting of the mammal was observed in 2010 along the coast of Mangalore.
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Who: Blue whales