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Stranded whale calf dies in Surat despite rescue efforts


Surat, Aug 29 (IANS) A whale calf died after being stranded ashore for the second time within two days in Surat. Despite combined efforts from local residents and the forest department staff to rescue and safely release the mammal into the Arabian Sea, the attempts turned out to be in vain at the end.

There was a possibility of internal injuries hindering its ability to navigate the waters. Samples have been dispatched for testing, aiming to uncover the exact cause of its incident.

Sachin Gupta, Deputy Conservator of Forests (DCF), Surat, confirmed the death on Tuesday.

The series of events began after a calf of the Bryde’s whale species was initially found stranded on the shore near Mor village in Olpad taluka of the district on the evening of August 27. Responding to the situation, approximately 150 villagers put forth tireless efforts to save the mammal.

On Monday afternoon, the mammal was released back into the sea utilising a bulldozer during high tide. Despite these efforts, the whale calf found itself once more stranded on the shore.

“The whale was carefully placed in a pond, ensuring its survival until high tide arrived. This vigilance enabled the calf to endure through the night. In our continued attempts, we employed a boat to guide the whale deeper into the sea. As time passed without sighting the calf, our optimism grew that it had successfully returned to the open waters,” an official stated.

However, the whale was again pushed back ashore approximately 300 meters from its last location. Immediate action was taken, involving a veterinarian who examined the calf and declared it dead.

Following a subsequent post-mortem examination, the mammal was laid to rest. The examination revealed that the whale had not consumed food for an extended period, indicating an empty stomach.


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