Rare finless porpoise netted

An adult finless porpoise and a calf were killed after getting accidentally trapped in fishing nets at Valiyathura

Published: 09th August 2016 03:07 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th August 2016 03:07 AM   |  A+A-

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: How scant is our knowledge of vulnerable and endangered marine species became evident here the other day after an adult finless porpoise and a calf were accidentally trapped in the fishing nets at Valiyathura.

Although a local marine biodiversity group rushed to the spot, they arrived too late to save them. One of the seven porpoise species, the finless porpoise (Little Indian Porpoise - Neophocaena phocaenoides) is distinguished by the lack of a dorsal fin; and it is the only porpoise to lack one. They are rarely found in the sea off Kerala, and according to Friends of Marine Life, the Valiyathura-based group which identified them, this is the first time they have being sighted in this region.

The mammal is listed as ‘vulnerable’ by the IUCN Red List and is a Schedule 1 species under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, FML convener and researcher Robert Panipilla said. “Dolphins and whales can be sighted often in our waters, but porpoises such as these which have flat teeth like humans and lacking dorsal fins are rare,” he said. “If we had arrived a little bit early, we could have saved them. We tried reintroducing the calf into the sea, but it got washed back by the waves,” he said.

Adult finless porpoises grow upto 1.5 metres long, and the calves are roughly 50 cms. Their upper body is bluish grey in colour, and their belly is white. Their diet consists of small fish, crabs and shrimps. The unfortunate incident once again highlights the need to creat awareness about the endangered and vulnerable marine species, said FML members. “In many countries, when such species are found, steps are taken to create awareness about them and about the need to protect them. The government should urgently take such measures,” Panipilla said.

Stay up to date on all the latest Thiruvananthapuram news with The New Indian Express App. Download now

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

Asian Games 2018