Dead sperm whale washed off Antarvedi coast in Andhra Pradesh

A giant dead sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) was sighted by local fisherfolk off Antarvedi coast near the confluence point of river Godavari into Bay of Bengal in East Godavari district.

On being learnt about the marine species, a group of locals ventured into sea on a boat for nearly a few meters from the shore and sighted the dead sperm whale, bringing the sighting to the attention of officials and local communities on Tuesday. However, the exact reason its death is yet to be ascertained scientifically. It is believed that it might have washed ashore dead a few days ago.

Since 2010, many dead sperm whales have been recorded off the Andhra Pradesh coast.

Rajamahendravaram-based wildlife biologist Kumpatla Bajali told The Hindu after examining the photos of the dead whale; “The species is ‘Sperm Whale’ as per its anatomy structure and other body features. We have records that many sperm whales have been washed ashore dead off the coastlines of Srikakulam and Machilipatnam and Krishana estuary in recent years”.

Since there is a fishing ban in the Bay of Bengal at present, it is certain that the whale was not hurt by fishing boats.

Study on mortality

Divisional Forest Officer (Wildlife-Eluru Division) C. Selvan told The Hindu that the reason for death is being studied. “A team of field staff has been deployed to examine the species, take photographs of the species from all angles to study the species, reasons for the mortality and possibilities to conserve its skeleton,” he said.

Mr. Selvan has added that the Sperm Whale species fall under the Schedule-II of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.

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