Dead Humpback Whale found

August 14, 2014 - 12:32:09 am

KARACHI: An Arabian Humpback Whale, 60-feet-long, was found dead offshore from Pakistan’s Karachi. However, neither government officials nor any private organisations that work with such species have yet to find out the cause of its death.

The whale was found by Ibrahim Hyderi fishermen who were leaving on an expedition on Monday morning, around 50 kilometres away from Ibrahim Hyderi. “Our fishermen have found a dead whale,” informed Kamal Shah of the Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum. “Most of the people in the area are saddened by the death of the animal.”

It took 40 fishermen to bring the dead mammal to the shore, and one of them, Saddam Hussain Brohi, said that the whale had visible injuries on various parts of its body. 

“The animal had a serious wound on its tail,” said Brohi. “There are also wounds on its neck and face. However, I think the cause of its death was the fishing net that was wrapped around its tail.” 

The seafaring man claimed that he had never seen an animal so large and added that its sheer size left him humbled.

The fishermen brought the whale onto the creek yesterday, believing that its meat would fetch them a handsome price; hauled on four fishing boats. “We lost around Rs50,000 as well as a day for fishing,” said Brohi.

Not many of Arabian Humpback remains as marine experts claim that the total population has diminished to a mere 400, most of who can be found in this region.

“It is an endangered species and it is found in a particular area,” said Moazzam Khan, the former director-general of the Marine Fisheries Department and the technical adviser of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)-Pakistan.

However, Khan believes that the situation may be even more alarming. “Certain experts estimate that only 80 of these animals remain,” he said. “But neither of the figures can be verified.”

According to Khan, who estimated that the humongous animal weighed somewhere between 14 and 16 tons, the cause of death could not have been the fishing net and added that the whale died recently; only a few hours before the fishermen found it.

Khan said that a three-member team of scientists will visit the site to get DNA samples from the mammal for testing.