False killer whale washed ashore at Ullal: Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute | Mangaluru News – Times of India

MANGALURU: The Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) has concluded that a moderately sized, around 10-foot-long dead false killer whale, ‘Pseudorca crassidens’ washed ashore at Mogaveera Patna, Ullal, on Thursday.
False killer whales are the largest species of the family Delphinidae, which includes dolphins, killer whales, pilot whales and their relatives.
Stranding and sighting of false killer whales along the Indian coast, have been reported earlier by several researchers. Recent reports on the stranding incidents of false killer whales have been reported in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Andaman and Nicobar Islands. However, this is the first time that there is a report of a false killer whale getting stranded on the Karnataka coast, stated Prathibha Rohit, principal scientist and head, Mangaluru regional centre of ICAR-CMFRI.
The false killer whale is actually not a whale but a dolphin. The species has similarities with the killer whale, in terms of the number of teeth it has, as well as the shape of its skull. This species is often mistaken for bottlenose dolphins, short finned pilot whales or long-finned pilot whales. They visit coastal waters, but prefer to remain in deeper waters. They are known to dive as deep as 2000 m. The distributional records of the false killer whale are available globally, and they are found throughout the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans.
False killer whales are black or dark gray in colour, with a white blaze on their ventral side. Some have a pale gray colouring on their head and sides.
Considering the need for conservation, the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972 listed the species of marine mammals and sea turtles under Schedule I. Currently, false killer whales are classified as data deficient (DD) on the IUCN Red List. The ICAR-CMFRI has been monitoring mammals stranding all along the Indian coast since 25 years, and recently launched a research project funded by MPEDA with a budget of Rs 5.7 crore, to assess the status of marine mammals and species of sea turtles in Indian waters. The project led by Dr R Jeybaskaran, senior scientist, ICAR-CMFRI Kochi, and is operational in all maritime states and UT’s of the country.

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Sagar Biswas

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