Karachi (Wednesday, September 21, 2011) – A dead whale that washed ashore on Monday night on the Clifton beach is a tropical whale, a type of baleen whales that are found in abundance in the Arabian Sea, and probably died due to confusion after coming too close to the seashore, experts said.
The 50-foot long whale, weighing several tons, had been washed ashore on Monday night at Sea View and people were visiting the beach to have a glimpse of the whale, which they otherwise only watch on television.
A former director general of the Marine Fisheries Department, Dr Moazzam Khan, while talking to The News, said that it was an isolated but natural incident in which a dead whale was washed ashore and there could be no other possible cause of its death than natural circumstances.
“Some whales normally come near the seashore due to confusion after their navigation and tracking system, i.e. echolocation, failed to guide them properly. Once in shallow water, lack of oxygen causes their death and their bodies are washed ashore.”
Dr Khan, who is also president of the Whales and Dolphins Society of Pakistan, said that since 1970 it was perhaps the 25th case of a whale being washed ashore on Pakistani coasts. He added that the largest dead whale so far washed ashore in Pakistan was seen in 1967 at Pasni.
“In 1984, a 40-foot long whale was washed ashore, which we buried and, after a year, we extracted its bones, re-assembled the skeleton and now it is in the Islamabad Zoo,” he said.
The fisheries expert said that the best option for the beach authorities was to bury it as soon as possible as its stench would be unbearable within the next few hours. He added its bones could be extracted once the flesh and other organs of the mammal were decomposed completely.