21September2018

Andaman Chronicle

The Daily Diary of the Islands

Mass stranding of Whales in North Andaman, First of its kind in the Islands

Port Blair, Oct. 25: The recent mass stranding of whales in North Andaman is a natural phenomenon. Every year thousands of whales, Dolphins and Porpoises found stranded all over the world. The stranding may occur in small or large groups, in which some animals may be aged or sick, however most of the individuals are often healthy ones. This natural phenomenon occurring for ages and still remains an unsolved mystery of the animal world.

The present mass stranding observed in North Andaman is however first of its kind reported from these Islands. A group or Pod as it is known, of about 40 Short Finned Pilot Whales, which normally live in deep sea, was found stranded near Elizabeth Bay in the West Coast of North Andaman Island by some Fishermen on 2l/10/2012. A team of Forest Officials went to the location immediately on receipt of the information and brought one adult animal carcass to Diglipur by the evening of 23/10/2012 for further investigations including post mortem. At the time of initial finding in this remote location, few animal were found still alive, however due to their large size (4 - 6 m length) and weight (1-3 ton) no rescue operation was practically possible.

The live stranding may occur due to close social bonding where the group follows sick or injured individual to shallow waters. The disorientation in course may also be caused by anomaly in earth electromagnetic field, earthquake, or storm; which may also result in venturing of lead animal into shallow water area and subsequent stranding by the whole group.

Further investigation to find out the possible cause of mass stranding is going on.