The state forest officials have identified the species to be blue whale. Its weight is estimated to be over 7 tonnes.
The Uran range forest officer (RFO) N Kokare, told TOI: “Some locals had informed us that a 30 feet long dead whale was noticed at Elephanta coast. On inspection, it was found to be a blue whale. The carcass has decayed a lot, so it is estimated that the whale may have been floating in the deep sea for a few days before being washed ashore.”
RFO Kokare added that at present there is no machinery available at Elephanta in order to dispose of the blue whale.
Environmentalist and director of Vanashakti NGO, D Stalin, commented: “Several whale species — including blue whale, Bryde’s whale — and also dolphins and other marine species have washed ashore in Raigad, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg coasts in the past five years. However, no proper study has been done as to what causes such distress among the biggest marine creatures like whales.”
Stalin added: “The Fisheries department and the National Institute of Oceanography must do a scientific study in the causes of whale deaths. I suspect that sea pollution such as floating oil and tar balls may be interfering with the breathing mechanism of whales off the Konkan coast. However, we need more details through a proper study.”
Blue whales are the largest marine mammals, and can grow up to 29 metres in the deep seas.