Connect with us

News

Stranded pod of whales may have lost course – Marine Biologist

Published

on

By Ifham Nizam

The pod of whales, which beached at Panadura, have been identified as ‘Short-Finned Pilots’, Marine Biologist cum Ocean Educator, Dr. Asha de Vos, said.

The pod is believed to have been stranded as a result of following a desperate whale that lost its course, she noted.

Six pilot whales and one dolphin died after more than 100 mammals beached at Panadura on Tuesday.

Wildlife Department Director-General Chandana Sooriyabandara said the Navy, fisher community, wildlife activists, coastguards and police helped in the task to push back the whales deeper into the ocean.

National Aquatic Resources Research and Development Agency (NARA) officials and other state marine life protection authorities also provided assistance.

According to the Navy, the mission was augmented by 30 naval personnel, an Inshore Patrol Craft, a group of 30 Coast Guard personnel, lifesaving boat, six naval personnel attached to the Rapid Response Relief and Rescue Unit, Kalutara with two lifesaving boats.

On the request of Commander of the Navy, Vice Admiral Nishantha Ulugetenne, jet skis given by a local water sports club were also used to pull the sea mammals deeper into the ocean.

Those who joined the rescue mission did everything within their power to manage the animals that were between 3-5.5m (10-18 feet), weighing 1000-3000 kilos. The animals were fatigued and stressed, they were splashing their tails around, which was risky for the people in the water, Dr. de Vos said.

“It was difficult for the men (who were also fatigued) to turn them upright against the crashing waves and to direct them into the surf and move them beyond their own height of water. If you’ve never been in this situation, please don’t be quick to judge,” she further said.

As I have explained on earlier occasions, whales breathe from their blowholes located at the top of their heads. The rescuers had to ensure the airways remained unblocked while trying to keep the animals upright, but it was hard. The waves kept tossing the animals and the people’, she noted.

A senior Department of Wildlife Conservation official said initial investigations suggested that the mammals were stranded due to sea currents or a change in their normal habits.

However, the Department also said that they had found the recent deaths on Olive Ridley Sea Turtles was due to foreign bodies entering their lungs.

“We fear that the recent oil spill may be one of the major reasons and there may be also some connections when it comes to pilot whales adopting an unusual routine,” an official said.

The Department had sent body samples and the report is expected in February 2021. The wildlife authorities will also conduct tests through veterinarians, the official noted.



Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

News

Economic crisis: 100,000 families already starving

Published

on

Govt. to provide monthly assistance package – official

By Ifham Nizam 

Plans are underway to assist an average needy family of  four with a monthly package of Rs. 15,000, a senior adviser to President Ranil Wickremesinghe said yesterday, adding that the move was expected to help ameliorate the plight of nearly 65,000 families.

Food Security Committee Chairman Dr. Suren Batagoda told The Island yesterday that at present some 100,000 families across the country were starving.

He said financial assistance would be provided to those families for three months. Within three months, the government would design a package in the form of food stamps, etc.

Dr. Batagoda said the World Food Programme, UNICEF, the World Bank, and state agencies would also team up to strengthen food security, focusing especially on needy pregnant mothers and pre-school children.

Continue Reading

News

GR govt. ignored Chinese lenders’ request for debt restructuring

Published

on

By Rathindra Kuruwita

The Gotabaya Rajapaksa government had ignored suggestions by Chinese lending institutions that Sri Lanka to restructure the debt in 2021, Prof. Samitha Hettige said yesterday.

“The Rajapaksa government started talking of debt restructuring earlier this year. The Opposition had been asking for this before,” he said.  By 2021, before the Gotabaya Rajapaksa administration decided on debt restructuring, the Chinese institutions that had given Sri Lanka loans suggested that a restructuring process should start since Sri Lanka would have trouble repaying the loans, the Strategic Studies scholar said.

However, the request had gone unheeded, and if the government had started discussions then, Sri Lanka would not have been in crisis, Prof. Hettige said.

The Sri Lankan foreign policy, in the last few years, had also been misguided, Prof. Hettige said. A number of Indian and Chinese companies faced unnecessary issues by the behaviour of the government, he said.

Prof. Hettige said that the government must focus on establishing free trade ports and reducing negative lists for investments.

Continue Reading

News

SJB dissociates itself from SF’s call for protest

Published

on

By Chaminda Silva

MP Sarath Fonseka’s call for people to join anti-government protests was not a decision taken by the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB), party MP J.C Alawathuwala said.

The SJB believed that they had to help President Ranil Wickremesinghe stabilise the country, economically and politically, he said.

MP Alawathuwala said the President must be given some time to solve the problems faced by the people and that the SJB was holding discussions with the government to guide it on a people-friendly path.

Continue Reading

Trending