The coastal dwellers of Mangrol in Porbandar district woke to a strange sight. The carcass of a huge whale shark, that weigh 10 tonnes and was about 47 feet long, had been washed up on the shores of Mangrol on Sunday.
As the news spread, people living in nearby villages rushed to the coast to see the big shark which was lying on the shore. The forest department and the local police had a tough time controlling the endless stream of visitors that went close to the shark to touch it and even took photographs, posing before the dead shark.
Officials of the forest department said that the full grown whale shark was examined to find if it had died due to some fishing boat or any other factor. But, post mortem examination revealed that the whale shark had died due to natural causes. The forest department buried the shark close to the spot where it was found, after the medical examination.
A senior official said that this would be among the few full grown sharks that have been found dead on the shore. This, once again, reveals that the sharks are found in the Indian water and come here during the monsoons.
The state government in association with the Wildlife Trust of India has also tagged few sharks for satellite tracking. “Tags are put on the sharks to get information about the path that they take to come to Gujarat coast and also to get the details as to where do they actually come from,” said an official.
The whale shark was listed under Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act in 2001, according to the highest level of protection. It is this Mangrol, a small fishing town situated along the Gujarat coast, that has a mascot — the whale shark. The adoption was declared during the Whale Shark Day celebrations to mark the successful Whale Shark Campaign.