The carcass was spotted by the locals around 8.30am. Later, we reached the spot — Loyalganj char under Haripur gram panchayat in Namkhana PS area, said Ahok Naskar, ranger, Bakkhali.
Divisional forest officer of South 24 Parganas, Milan Mandal, said: “Its size and slender body shape resembles closely with a fin whale, which is the second largest cetacea in the world after blue whale. The post mortem has been done and the animal will be buried in the beach itself.”
Dipani Sutaria, an ecologist studying marine cetaceans in India, however, said that if this is 59ft straight length, then our best guess is a blue whale, possibly a juvenile female. “International expert on baleen whales, Robert Brownell, has also confirmed it.
The tail stock and fluke has a bhekti ‘jaal’ tied around it suggesting death due to gear entanglement. We could have ascertained the species if tissue samples had been collected and stored in ethanol,” said Sutaria, also a member of Marine Mammal Research and Conservation Network of India.
Baleen whales have plates of whalebone in the mouth for straining plankton from the water. The Bay of Bengal, according to Sutaria, is known to have three species of baleen whales — blue whale, Bryde’s whale and Omura’s whale. Chief wildlife warden Debal Roy said: “It can be a fin whale and its presence here can be a result of erratic migration. We have collected its skin samples and spoken to ZSI.” “Fin whales avoid polar and tropical waters and semi-enclosed bodies of water,” added Sutaria.
A foresters said based on the carcass condition, the whale seemed to have died several days ago. He said a ship strike can also be a reason for its death.