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Extremely rare whale filmed by Pakistani fisherman off coast of Karachi

humpback whales

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A group of rare humpback whale was spotted at Arabian Sea in Karachi. Fishermen filmed and reported five of these rare whales near the coast of the Chann creek. Recently, World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) released the video of humpback whales found in Arabian Sea. Since then many fishermen have sighted the exquisite whale.
People of Karachi gathered on the shore as soon as they heard the news. Thrilled and excited, people of all ages and groups delighted in the sight of the rare animal.

It is believed that only 82 of the humpback whales are left in the world. This number is based on photo identification of the whale. 16 meters long and weighing more than 30,000 kilograms, 5 such whales were spotted about 57 kilometers southeast of Karachi by a WWF-P-trained fisherman, Captain Jehan Badsha.

After gathering evidence and analysis, WWF-P technical advisor Mohammad Moazzam reported that fisherman have observed and confirmed the whales in Arabian Sea saying

The whales were feeding on pelagic shrimp (locally known as saani), which are easily recognized from a distance as the surface of water where they gather appears white.

It is suspected that one of the whales have been hurt physically by entanglement in fishing equipment or was hit by a boat, as one humpback whale was stated to have distinctive scars near its dorsal fin and on its tail. The fisherman said

The marks and scars on their bodies can be used for identification of individual specimens. This is the first time that the distinct scars on the whales were photographed and recorded from Pakistan.

He is assuming that these whales are a part of the same group of humpback spotted on 21st September 2016, at a location 36 to 50 kilometers towards north from these whales.

Mohammad Moazzam further explained that upon the request of WWF-P, the Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (PMSA) has agreed to engage and deploy all its vessels as well as those from Pakistan naval fleet to report the spotting of any humpback whale in the zone of Arabian Sea in Karachi.

The humpback whale, scientifically named as Megaptera novaeangliae, has 14 distinct population segments in the world and Arabian Sea is one of them. Arabian Sea zone is the smallest for the whales. It has the most unique features and the whale is an endangered species in the range of sea distribution extending between Yemen and Oman in the west to Iran, Pakistan and India in the east.

Senior director of WWF-P, Rab Nawaz, showed his concern towards the scarcity of whales and appealed for protective laws for such fauna. He said

Effective implementation of the legislation will ensure protection of this endangered sub-population of humpback whale.

He also emphasized on the importance of the whale spotting saying that it will encourage the studying and understanding of the behavioral, biological and migration patterns of the exclusive giant whale.

All species of whale have been affirmed as protected under the fisheries legislation of the Sindh and Baluchistan governments this year. The Baluchistan Wildlife (Protection, Preservation, Conservation and Management) Act 2014 also accords protected status to the humpback whales.