A 47-feet blue whale was rescued along the Konkan coast in Ratnagiri district in Maharashtra on Sunday in a joint effort by locals, fishermen and forest officials.
“The marine mammal was spotted fighting for its survival by the residents of Madban village late in the evening of September 10, the whale was beached for over two days. But since this is an isolated spot, it was spotted only on Saturday and we were informed by the locals,” said N Vasudevan, chief conservator, Marine Conservation.
Estimated to weigh around 20 tonnes, on Sunday morning, two boats with 50 personnel carried out the rescue operation over eight hours by pulling the mammal into the sea with the help of ropes during high tide.
Vasudevan said, “A Blue Whale was found stranded at the sea coast of village Madban near Jaitapur Atomic Energy Project Taluka Rajapur District Ratnagiri on 10th evening.
It was safely released into deep sea water with the help of 2 boats by forest staff, NGOs, local people and fishermen today afternoon. The length of the whale was 47 feet and weight may be around 15 to 20 tonnes.”
Vasudevan added that this was one of the biggest rescues in India. “After the beaching and death of a whale at Juhu, Mumbai and the safe rescue earlier this year from Ratnagiri itself, the sheer size of the mammal makes this the biggest rescue of beached mammal in history.”
The blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) falls under the red list of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and schedule 1 of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1986.