May 8, 2021


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5 whales die in 18 months, cause unknown

Whales are one of the most intelligent animals in the world after humans. Although they roam the deep sea, these warm-blooded animals are not fish. They give birth to children and give breast milk. However, it goes without saying that sea whales have no direct connection with shore people. Even then, in the last 18 months, experts have thought that the bodies of five whales have been washed ashore in Bangladesh. The bodies of two whales have been found floating on the beach in Cox’s Bazar two days apart this month.

Usually there are five reasons why whales die 1. Natural death. Whales in the Bay of Bengal usually live for more than 40 years. 2. Many whales died in the trap. 3. Death by collision with a large vessel. 4. Death by eating plastic waste. 5. Effects of chemicals.
According to the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Bangladesh, a total of 10 dead whales have been found off the coast of Bangladesh in the last 14 years, including the latest two. The bodies of five of them have arrived in the last 18 months. All of them were found on the coast of Cox’s Bazar. Concerns have been created among scientists about this. Earlier, five whales floated off the coast of Bagerhat, Satkhira, Barguna and Patuakhali from 2008 to 2019.

From 2007 to 2019, five whales floated off the coast of Bagerhat, Satkhira, Barguna and Patuakhali.
One of the two dead whales that recently floated in Cox’s Bazar was a woman, the other a man, researchers said. Interest in the mysterious death of two consecutive female and male whales has generated interest among zoologists and marine researchers. Meanwhile, five government agencies have jointly launched an investigation into the cause of death of the two whales. However, the cause of death of the two animals was not known even after two weeks.


One of the five causes of whale death
Several researchers involved in the investigation into the cause of death of the two whales said in the first light that most of the whales died due to five main reasons. It is being investigated whether any of the five factors worked in the deaths of these two whales. However, the exact cause of death of the whale carcasses that have been washed ashore in Bangladesh before is still unknown.

The whales of Bangladesh live mainly in the abyss of the Bay of Bengal or in the northern part of the Swatch of No Ground and its surroundings. They are also found west of Cox’s Bazar and south of St. Martin’s Island.
Researchers say that one of the five leading causes of whale death is normal death. Whales that roam the Bay of Bengal live for more than 40 years. Then they die naturally. However, the age of the last two whales to be found has not been determined. Therefore, it cannot be said whether they have died due to old age or not.

Many whales died in the trap. However, the researchers said that no evidence was found by observing the bodies of the two whales. Another third cause of death for whales is death by collision with a large vessel. In the case of those two whales, the risk is less. Because, there was no sign of any such injury on their body. Fourth, death by eating plastic waste. The whale filled his mouth with a huge yawn and took water. It then swallows the microorganisms and fish and shrimps that enter the mouth through the filtration process. As a result, the plastic waste in the sea often goes to the whale’s stomach. These accumulate in the stomach and interfere with the digestion of food. The whale died slowly. Preliminary autopsy found no plastic in the stomachs of the two whales.

The fifth most notable cause of whale death is the effects of chemicals. If the chemical enters the whale’s body through food or any other means, the animal dies due to poisoning. Researchers have not yet confirmed the effects of the chemical on the two whales.

In addition, in Europe and America, killing whales with spears, pentathrite grenades and shootings is common. However, no evidence of such incidents has been found in the Bay of Bengal so far.

In this regard, Rakibul Amin, Country Director of IUCN Bangladesh, an international alliance of nature conservation organizations, told Prothom Alo that the cause of the sudden increase in whale deaths should be seriously investigated. And as the sea level of Bangladesh has increased, there are now some whales in this region. It is important to find out what needs to be done to protect them.

The mystery of the death of those two whales in Cox’s Bazar
All the dead whales that have floated in the last 18 months are thought to be of the Brides breed. Because, this species of whale has been seen on the coast of Bangladesh till now. It is thought that there is a large breeding colony in the deep Bay of Bengal. They live in large numbers in and around the Bay of Bengal or the Swatch of No Ground. Of the five whales that died floating between 2008 and 2019, two were sperm whales, two were false killers and one was a brides whale. The last two brides are considered to be of the same breed.

The distance of the Sundarbans from that abyss of the Bay of Bengal is about 50 kilometers. The distance from Cox’s Bazar is 150 to 200 kilometers.
Concerned people believe that the two whales that died recently came to Cox’s Bazar 10 to 15 days after their deaths. This is because the back wings of the two whales rotted in the lower part of the chin and the tail. The bottom of the abdomen rotted and the inner part of the body came out. Scientists involved in the autopsy, from the abdomen to other parts of the body, say that these organs have rotted in such a way that it is difficult to examine them properly.