12-hour operation sees 40-ft-long blue whale rescued off Maharashtra's Dapoli coast

A 40-feet-long blue whale stranded in shallow waters along the Dapoli coast in the Konkan region has been rescued by marine experts and locals and pushed back into the sea.

While the incident took place early on Monday morning, it took the forest officials, NGO activists and fishermen more than 12 hours to rescue the giant whale.

A senior forest official said the mammal had stranded in three-feet shallow waters along the beach at Kolthare village in Dapoli tehsil of Ratnagiri district on February 1 and was rescued same day by the locals and marine experts.

Around 20-25 representatives of Sahyadri Nisarga Mitra, a Ratnagiri-based NGO working for nature conservation, took part in the rescue operation along with the forest officials and local fishermen.

Apparently, the whale by noticed by a turtle conservationist working with forest department early on Monday morning at around 5am.

The forest department and NGO activists were then informed and they rushed to the spot to help the whale.

“When the officials and conservationists checked the whale they were surprised to find it alive and breathing. However, the whale was too weak to swim back to the sea,” said Bhau Katdare, a senior conservationist from Sahyadri Nisarga Mitra.

Local fishermen, with the help of forest officials tied the giant mammal to the boats and successfully dragged it in deep waters. Officials confirmed that over 50 people worked for around 12 hours to successfully save the whale.

After the recent incidents involving deaths of stranded whales, this is the first incident where one has been rescued, the IFS officer said.

Last week, a nearly 40-feet-long bryde's whale, weighing 20 tonne, had died after being washed ashore to Juhu beach and was buried beyond the high tide line there.

The Bryde's Whale is an endangered species found in the Arabian Sea.

Carcasses of 38 Baleen Whales were washed ashore recently near Tiruchendur beach in Tamil Nadu while more than 250 stranded whales were pushed back into the deep sea.

In June last year, a 42-feet-long blue whale was washed ashore at Revdanda coast, about 17 km south of Alibaug in neighbouring Raigad district. The whale had died later.

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