On Sunday, locals and fishermen came together to rescue a 47 foot long blue whale from a beach in Maharashtra and successfully put back into the ocean.
The largest mammal of the world was beached close to village Madban, near Jaitapur nuclear power plant in Ratnagiri district. Weighing around 20 tonnes, the whale, had drifted into shallow waters, and washed ashore.
Chief conservator of the mangrove conservation cell, N Vasudevan believes that considering the “sheer size of the mammal,” Sunday’s rescue is “the biggest rescue of beached mammal in history.”
The whale was drifted before two days. On Saturday evening, the local fishermen spotted the whale and informed forest department. 50 personnel in two boats, on Sunday morning, executed the rescue operation over eight hours by pulling the mammal into the sea with the help of ropes during high tide.
Vasudevan said, “Four forest officials led the rescue operation along with local NGOs and fishermen, and the whale was pulled into deep sea by Sunday afternoon. The whale was stranded along the shoreline during low tide on Thursday or Friday. We can only assume this because the animal was out of the water when it was found and its ribs were visible.”
“The animal could have suffered an injury or an internal parasitic infection due to which it lost its navigation abilities and moved closer to the shore. However, after the massive rescue operation, we saw the whale speed its way back into the deep sea,” said range forest officer of Ratnagiri, BR Patil.
This is the second successful rescue of a blue whale in the same region. In February this year, a 40-foot long whale was rescued in a nine-hour long operation in Ratnagiri.
In August last year, a 42-foot long blue whale washed ashore in Mumbai’s Alibaug, but didn’t survive despite an 18-hour long operation. In January this year, a 40-foot long whale was beached for 17 hours and could not be rescued.
The blue whale, scientifically known as Balaenoptera musculus, falls under the red list of the IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature and schedule 1 of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1986.