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November 30, 2019

Dead Bryde’s whale found on Pakistani shore

Karachi

November 30, 2019

The body of a 31-foot-long Bryde's whale was found on a remote rocky shore near Gunz along Balochistan coast on Friday.

According to fishermen, the live specimen was found entangled in a fishing net, offshore Daran on November 26, 2019. They said they tried to disentangle the animal but could not succeed as it was very gigantic and aggressive, and thus they abandoned the rescue operation.

Upon receiving the information, a team of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)-Pakistan reached the spot but could not find the animal. Later, the team carried out a search operation in waters along Gwadar and the Iranian border and after efforts for four days, finally located the whale lying dead on an isolated rocky beach called Chill in the west of Gunz, Jiwani.

The WWF-Pakistan team recorded photographic evidence, collected biometric information as well as samples of the whale’s tissue for analysis. The specimen was identified as a Bryde's whale (Balaenoptera brydei), which is one of three baleen whales that have been reported in Pakistani waters. The other two baleen whale species found in Pakistani sea are blue whale and Arabian humpback whale.

According to Sudhair Baloch, WWF-Pakistan coordinator based in Jiwani, the whale was entangled in gillnet deployed by fishers to catch Indian mackerel in the offshore waters near Gunz. WWF-Pakistan Technical Adviser Muhammad Moazzam Khan expressed sorrow over the accidental mortality of the Bryde’s whale and termed it a matter of concern for the conservation community around the world.

He said Bryde's whale is one of small baleen whales known to be distributed in tropical and subtropical waters worldwide. Khan emphasised that this whale is categorised under the species of ‘least concern’; however, taking into consideration its very small population in Pakistani waters, urgent steps are required for its conservation here. “Currently, all cetaceans, including whales and dolphins, are protected under the fisheries legislation of Sindh and Balochistan,” he added.

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