Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Blue whale washed ashore

Wednesday, Nov 24, 2010

CHENNAI: A one-year-old blue whale was washed ashore near the Chennai port on Monday.

Explaining the features of the blue whale, Supraja Dharini of the TREE Foundation, who is working in the area of marine mammal conservation, said that from the mottled blue grey spots on its body it was identified as a blue whale. The throat groves, the flippers and tail fluke were all clear, which also helped in the identification. There were more than 55 ventral pleats and more below the surface of the water, which started from right under the chin and went down to the naval. The carcass measured 12.6 metres in length without the head. The average adult size is 25 meters for males and 31 meters for females.

It has been studied that the calves could gain around 90 kg per day and grow to a length of around 15 metres within 6-8 months from birth. It is during this period that the calf separates from its mother so the stranded whale could be a just separated calf, she said.

This is the second incident of a blue whale being washed ashore in the Chennai coast. On Tuesday, the whale was towed by the Chennai Port Trust authorities near the gate one area of the port which had a sandy stretch and with the help of three earthmovers the carcass was buried in a pit.