Mumbaikers and tourists in Mumbai were treated with an unpleasant sight as carcass of a massive 44-foot whale washed up in two halves on two different beaches in Mumbai.
One of the halves washed up on Juhu beach while the other washed up on Madh beach some 10 km away. The carcass is decomposed badly and this particular carcass makes it the 14th to wash up on Mumbai shores this year alone. Washing up of whale carcasses wasn’t a common sight in Mumbai until a few years ago. This year however, the sightings are increasingly getting common with carcasses of whales, dolphins and porpoises washing up dead on the beaches.
According to officials and researchers handling the carcass and its disposal, one of the parts of the whale – the six metres tail washed up on Juhu beach. The head portion of the whale measuring 7.7 metres washed up on Madh beach. The tail was found first on Sunday morning while reports of the head started surfacing later in the day.
As per the details provided by officials, organs of the whale were present but they were not intact. The tail was in a deteriorated condition and its tail fins were probably washed away. Researchers say they haven’t been able to conduct a necropsy (surgical examination) and are not even sure what species it was.
According to researchers the tail portion didn’t help identifying the whale, but the state of the skull helped them identify the species as a Bryde’s whale. These whales have a distinct V-shape and three ridges on the jaw bone and that’s what the skull of the whale had. Researchers were able to match the two portions of the carcass to ascertain that the two portions belong to the same species.
The whale was likely 13.70 metres in length when it was alive a few weeks back. The state of the carcass indicates that the decomposition process started at least a few weeks ago.
According to officials, the tidal waves crashing against the weakened decomposed body eventually led the whale carcass to split in two. Both parts of the carcass will be buried where they were found and their tissue samples will be collected, officials said.