Thiruvananthapuram: One of the Arabian Sea humpback whales, which are believed to be the only non-migratory species, has reached the Kerala shores. Luban, one among the 14 Arabian Sea humpback whales tagged by the Environment Society of Oman, reached the Kerala coast on January 1.
Luban reached 30 km off Kochi shores on New Year day, and is heading southwards in a speed of 5 miles per hour. The Arabian Sea Whale Network is trying to mark the present location of Luban with the help of fishermen. The whale is moving between Alappuzha and Thiruvananthapuram.
The female whale Luban was tagged from the Gulf of Masirah with the help of satellites in November 2017. Though the humpback whales usually migrate up to 25,000 km every year, the humpback whales in the Arabian Sea, being an endangered species, were thought to be non-migrating. But Luban started migrating from Oman and has moved more than 1500 km forward before reaching Goa coast on December 21, and it is heading southwards now, said Dr. Biju Kumar, the head of Aquatic Biology and Fisheries Department of Kerala University.
As per expert opinion, the cause of migration of humpback whale can be the availability of shrimps and sardines in the Kerala coast, which are their favourite food. The whales also migrate in search of a mate. The presence of Arabian Sea humpback whale in Kerala has never been recorded. In 1972, one was washed ashore dead in Kasaragod area.
There are 4 species of baleen whales in India. The humpback whales can be identified with their special features. They are black or grey in colour, but the lower part of the body and tail part are in white. The humps on top of the head also is a characteristic of the whale. They appear on the surface at an interval of 40 minutes.