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Maharashtra: Researchers spot blue whales after hundred years

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

A group of researchers claimed to have spotted a mother-calf pair of blue whales, between March and May, 3 km away from the Sindhudurg coast in Maharashtra after nearly 100 years. Bryde’s whales were also seen by the researchers during the same period.

The findings were conducted by the Cetacean Population Study team, positioned at the Sindhudurg coast since the beginning of this year under the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) project on Mainstreaming Coastal and Marine Biodiversity, which was brought into action by Maharashtra State Mangrove Cell.

Ketki Jog, a member of Cetacean Population Study team said, “The blue whale sighting was that of a mother-calf pair. They were seen near Kunkeshwar, 2.7km offshore, at a depth of 16m.”

According to N Vasudevan, Chief Conservator of Forest, Maharashtra State Mangrove Cell, the last reported sighting of blue whale, the world’s largest animal, was in 1914.

Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) earlier claimed that another sighting of the mammal was observed in 2010 along the coast of Mangalore.

The team also reportedly spotted a small pod of four Bryde’s whales four times: April 11, 16, 30 and May 6, from the coast, at an average water depth of 15 metres.

Vasudevan added, “The sighting of the largest mammal just 3 km away from the Sindhudurg shore calls for immediate study as to why such a large species is moving close to land.”

The Mangrove Cell suggested that from now onwards, they will regularly conduct the whale watching activities from Sindhudurg coast. “Without disturbing the habitat of the whales, these spots can become a tourist attraction if such mammals are spotted often,” Vasudevan said.

CMFRI researchers also informed that these huge species can be seen across the Indian Ocean, southern parts of Sri Lanka coast and have often been found migrating to Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea.

“Mammals like the blue whale often frequent the coasts of India. However, the issue is that there has been no documentation of the same. Authorities should invest more such studies to protect the endangered species,” said E Vivekanandan, consultant and scientist in CMFRI, Chennai.

According to another research conducted by Cetacean Population Study team under the UNDP project, 687 dolphins were also seen near the coast out of which 153 individual dolphins were identified because of distinct features such as their fin.

Sightings of close to 40 Finless Porpoise were also recorded across the Sindhudurg coast during the two phases of the study this year.

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Experts Claim, Climate Change Can Affect Food, Water Security

Lauding IIT-Mandi for hosting the workshop, Rajeevan said the Himalayas were one of the world's sensitive hotspots to climate change along with the Artic region.

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Ramesh P. Singh, workshop Coordinator and visiting faculty at IIT-Mandi, said: "We have to understand climate change and its impact as it is very important for the future generations." Pixabay

Climate change can affect the food, water and energy security of a region, Ministry of Earth Sciences Secretary M. Rajeevan said here on Friday.

“Climate is changing and global warming is happening due to the release of greenhouse gases. In many parts of the world, including India, the effects of climate change are being seen especially in mountain regions like Mandi,” he said.

He was speaking at the Indian Institute of Technology-Mandi that hosted an International Workshop on Climate Change and Extreme Events in the Indian Himalayan Region.

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In many parts of the world, including India, the effects of climate change are being seen especially in mountain regions like Mandi,” he said. Pixabay

The workshop was aimed at understanding the effects of climate change, melting of glaciers, increased frequency of extreme events, atmospheric pollution and pollution due to the burning of crop residue in the Himalayan region and applications of remote sensing.

Lauding IIT-Mandi for hosting the workshop, Rajeevan said the Himalayas were one of the world’s sensitive hotspots to climate change along with the Artic region.

“The Himalayan region is experiencing increasing variability in weather in the last many years. This could lead to further snow accumulation over this region and more research is needed to understand this phenomenon. By studying data, there is also evidence that the number of extreme warm days and nights has increased in this Himalayan region, which are clear effects of global warming.”

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The workshop was aimed at understanding the effects of climate change, melting of glaciers, increased frequency of extreme events, atmospheric pollution and pollution due to the burning of crop residue in the Himalayan region and applications of remote sensing. Pixabay

In his presidential address, IIT-Mandi Director Timothy A. Gonsalves said: “We have 15 professors from six different disciplines in IIT-Mandi who are working on climate change. This workshop saw the participation of faculty from various disciplines and is an example of the inter-disciplinary and collaborative environment on campus.”

Also Read: Passwords on Sensitive Account Are Still Easy To Guess

Ramesh P. Singh, workshop Coordinator and visiting faculty at IIT-Mandi, said: “We have to understand climate change and its impact as it is very important for the future generations.”

The workshop has participation from all over India, besides Europe, and the US with over 90 speakers from across India. (IANS)