Mumbai: The blue whale is back in the sea off the Maharashtra coast after a gap of almost a century. A mother-calf pair was recently spotted in the waters near Kunkeshwar in Sindhudurg district. The equally rare Bryde’s whales were sighted four times around the same time.
The Konkan Cetacean Research Team, while on a survey to study Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins near the Sindhudurg coastline, spotted the blue whales on March 28, approximately 2.7 km offshore at a depth of 16 metres. The Bryde’s whales were seen on April 11, 16 and 30 and May 6.
“It was a mother-calf pair of the blue whale. The Bryde’s whales included a small pod of four, of which one was a mother-calf pair,” said Mihir Sule of the four-member research team, which were on a boat. Blue whales are marine mammals and they are the largest animals on Earth. They can reach an average length of 23-27 metres, with the largest known being 33 metres.
These animals tend to be open-ocean species, but they do come close to the shore to feed. Blue whales are resident or migratory, usually seen alone or in pairs.