Killer whales off Ratnagiri; researchers want more study of their migratory behaviour

Marine enthusiasts and scientists are quite surprised over the spotting of Orca or killer whales near Ratnagiri near Mumbai on the Western Indian Coast.

The killer whales were sighted by fishermen about 200 metres from the shore and at a depth of 30 to 35 feet. Marine scientists and experts are of the opinion that more studies have to be conducted on the sighting of Orca in the waters near Maharshtra.

Marine researcher Swapnil Tandel told that Orca or killer whales are not true whales but come from the dolphin family. They are known as killer whale only because of their size and aggressive feeding behaviour. They live in small pods and reach a length of up to ten meters and can weigh about ten tons.

He said more study is needed to be carried out in the region. “We need more study on migratory behaviour of these dolphins. There is a need for good documentation in Maharashtra waters,” he said.

The researcher said that it was the fishermen who spotted Orca near Ratnagiri beach. He said that they have identified a pod consisting of a male, female and a calf between Purngad and Gaonkhadi beach in Ratnagiri.

Tandel, who is carrying out his research studies with the support of the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute(CMFRI) and the UK-based Rufford Foundation, also mentioned that he had come to know from many fishermen that they have seen such dolphins in deep water beyond 80- 100 metre depth travelling towards south.

He also mentioned that small pod intensity is higher towards the southern part of Maharshtra.

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