The shores of Vizag had a grim look to them as a dead dolphin was spotted at one of the city’s beaches, earlier this week. The mammal is believed to be a humpback dolphin. Although the exact cause of death is unknown, experts suspect increasing marine pollution, boat traffic, and depletion in prey density to be the possible contributing factors.
In this particular case, it is said that the abrasions, seen on the dolphin, could be caused by it coming in contact with moving boats before or after death. Also, the damage seen at the ventral side is said to be done by dogs post-death. Further investigation on this sighting is being conducted by the experts in the city.
“The only way to differentiate the two types of humpback dolphins is by examining the genetics of the species. Hence, the spotted dolphin could either be the Indopacific Humpback Dolphin (Sousa Chinensis) or Indian Ocean Humpback Dolphin (Sousa Plumbea),” informed Srichakra Pranav, Founder of the East Coast Conservation Team (ECCT), a non-profit organisation working towards marine life conservation in Vizag. The Indian Ocean Humpback Dolphins have been marked as endangered, while the Indopacific Humpback Dolphins are said to be a vulnerable species, by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
According to Pranav, dolphins cannot tolerate pollution, hence the exponential increase in plastic waste, at Vizag’s beaches, poses a major threat for them. He also stated that humpback dolphins are indigenous to the shallow waters of the sea. Which increases the risk of them clashing with the motors of fishing and other boats. Another cause of the threat is said to be the capture of dolphins as bycatch during commercial fishing sprees.
In Vizag, the species identified, under the group of cetaceans (mammals like dolphins, porpoises, and whales), are bottlenose and humpback dolphins, and Indopacific finless porpoises. Out of which, the Indopacific finless porpoise was recorded a couple of months ago, after a long gap of 15 years, in Andhra Pradesh. It was spotted at the Annaram Coast near Bheemili, Visakhapatnam.
“As conservation researchers, we need as many eyes on the lookout for wildlife across the city. It is important to take a record of the different species of wildlife for further conservation. For which we sought support from the general public of the city. We appreciate any information regarding Vizag’s wildlife that is shared with us,” said Pranav.