Marine biologists have advised people to stay away from the carcass of a 42-foot blue whale, which is drifting towards the coast of Balochistan’s coastal town of Jiwani. The whale is in the bloat stage of decay and could explode any time, which could pose a serious health hazard to the local population.
The blue whale’s carcass has been dead for almost eight to 10 days, and the coastal authorities have alerted the local residents to stay away from the ballooning body, which can burst anytime and release a putrid stench and decomposing entrails in the environment.
When local authorities called for help, World Wild Life Fund (WWF) Pakistan marine biologists, the first responders, measured the whale and collected blood and tissue samples to run various tests to determine the species and possible cause of death.
The carcass is drifting near the coast of Jiwani, a commercial port located along the Gulf of Oman in the Gwadar District of the Balochistan province, and could wash up on the beach in a matter of hours if not days, authorities said.
The blue whale is the largest animal of all time and has long fascinated biologists. Despite their immense size, they feed on tiny prey, such as shrimp-like krill and other zooplankton, using baleen plates made of keratin, the same material found in fingernails.
The whale exhibits extremely low heart rates of just four to eight beats per minute and even as low as two during feeding dives. After surfacing to breathe following foraging dives, the whale’s heart rate increases to 25 to 37 beats per minute.
Blue whales are found in all the world’s oceans and are listed as endangered due to 20th-century whaling that almost drove them to extinction. They reach up to about 98 feet (30 meters) long and 180 tons.
Experts say that blue whales face many risks in the ocean, from ship strikes to human noise, and for an animal living on the edge, dense patches of prey are critical to putting on mass and ultimately reproducing.