15-feet whale shark released into the deep sea in Odisha
(Sourced from PTI)
Local fishermen, villagers, and the forest department, on Thursday, released a 15-feet long whale shark, weighing 1500 kgs, into the Bay of Bengal after it came to the net line, officials said on Friday. It came into the net line during fishing in the sea near Pati Sonepur at Ganjam district in south Odisha, about 20 km away.
Whale sharks are known to be the largest living non-mammalian vertebrates. It is a slow-moving fish that swims close to the water surface as it feeds on plankton. It comes near the beaches in Odisha generally from February to May every year.
Berhampur forest range officer DK Martha said, "We have deployed forest personnel on the beach during the night to watch for any development. If the whale shark dies it will wash ashore due to the tidal wave of the sea." Whale sharks are protected under the Wildlife Protection Act and are an endangered species in the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
In 2020 at least four whale sharks had died on the Odisha coast, including three on the Ganjam coast at Gopalpur, Pati Sonepur, and Kantiagada. Whale sharks deviate from their migratory route and swim into shallow coastal waters in search of planktons and fish eggs.