Ratnagiri, November 16: Barely hours after it was successfully rescued, a five-tonner whale calf died in the Arabian Sea off Ratnagiri coast and its carcass washed up again on Ganpatipule Beach early on Thursday, locals and officials said. Experts suspect that the giant but gentle juvenile may have suffered severe dehydration due to the heat generated by its own fatty layers as it remained out of water in the open for nearly four days, plus it may have starved due to lack of mother's milk on which it would normally survive for the first three years after birth.
The whale calf, measuring around 30-feet and weighing a colossal estimated 5000-kgs, was first found stuck in the soft sands of the beach around dawn on Monday.
A massive rescue operation was carried out to rescue the whale calf
Thereafter a mammoth operation involving the district fire brigade, police, fisheries department, Indian Coast Guard, environmentalist, a private company, and local volunteers was launched to save the whale calf from possible death as it got beached and floundered helplessly in the shallow sandy waters during the low tide.
The rescue mission was difficult
The baby mammal measured around 30-feet long and was estimated to weigh around five tonnes, making it a difficult rescue mission, so two cranes and even a JCB were deployed to help out.
Finally, after almost 40 hours of patience and hard work, the rescue teams managed to push it back in the sand, virtually inch-by-inch, till it could comfortably swim into the sea and return to its freedom in the deep waters - around 2 a.m. on Wednesday.
It was healthy and unharmed post-rescue
Officials monitoring the developments said that after it went back to safety in the deep waters, the calf whale was visible at least thrice at some distance from the beach and then finally disappeared into the waters, indicating that it was healthy and unharmed post-rescue.
Later last night, the mammal was seen floating in the same vicinity, apparently dead, and early today, its carcass washed ashore on the Ganpatipule Beach, posing an environmental risk and now plans are on to dispose it off safely.