Whale discovered washed ashore on Gwadar beach

A 34-FOOT-LONG whale that cleaned ashore dead on the beach in Gwadar 2 days ago was quietly buried by municipality workers on Tuesday afternoon before its body could be checked by experts.

“Perhaps the efficiency shown in burying the foul-smelling decomposed body was due to close proximity of the carcass to a security check-post,” they said.

There were clashing claims about the whale’s identity: the World Wide Fund for Nature-Pakistan (WWF-P) revealed it as the calf of a blue whale while a marine biologist handling the Gwadar Development Authority identified it as a Bryde’s whale.

“We confirmed that it’s a calf of the blue whale after sharing its picture with other experts,” said Mohammad Moazzam Khan, a representative of the WWF-P and also the president of the Pakistan Whales and Dolphins Society.

“There are different speculations about how it died. I believe that it died after getting entangled in a fishing net,” Mr Khan said, debating that there was no proof of a ship strike.

He said that fishermen looking for ambergris in the whale’s stomach harmed the carcass but couldn’t find any since the valuable solid waxy substance was only located in the intestines of a sperm whale.

A dead specimen of the identical species, based on Mr Khan, was discovered floating in 2014 in the Khuddi creek, about 39 kilometres southeast of Karachi.

“A giant blue whale was spotted along with its baby off Churna Island, Balochistan, last year. That was the first live sighting of the blue whale,” Mr Khan said.

The species is detailed as endangered in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List and its global population today stands at around 10,000 to 25,000.

Even so, Abdur Rahim, assistant director environment of the GDA and also a marine biologist, was of the viewpoint that it was a grownup Bryde’s whale.

“I confirmed this identification with my foreign colleagues. Both blue whale and Bryde’s whale belong to the family of baleen whales, also called toothless whales, and there are minor differences in their features,” he described. He said he didn’t obtain any information about fishermen damaging the carcass.

“The carcass was old, perhaps three days to a week. It apparently washed ashore on Monday night and was spotted on Tuesday morning. Nothing could be said conclusively about the whale’s death,” he said, including that a Bryde’s whale was found dead couple of years ago in Gwadar.

Based on experts, cetaceans are important since these mammals are key kinds in the ecosystem. They reflect the number and diversity of fish stocks and are alerts of a healthy ecosystem.

The first-ever baseline research on the marine cetaceans seen in Pakistan’s waters became public in 2008. The whales recorded during this study included Bryde’s whale, Cuvier’s beaked whale, the fin whale, the sperm whale and the famous hump-backed whale.

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