Dead Bryde's whale
A dead Bryde's Whale floated off Mumbai beach (Representational image) Reuters

A 50ft Bryde's Whale washed ashore dead on Juhu beach in the western Indian city of Mumbai on Thursday (28 January). Experts said the whale, weighing about 25,000kg, had been dead for at least two to three days.

The whale's body was beached on Thursday night and was spotted by joggers next morning. The cause of the giant mammal's death remains unknown as no injuries were found on its body. However, experts at marine conservation organisation Reefwatch India warned that a number of reasons including sound pollution underwater, pollution from industries, plastic consumption, or even a disease could have caused the whale's death.

Mumbai forest department official Makarand B Ghodke said that a post-mortem of the carcass will be done, according to NDTV. The department will try to preserve the whale's skeleton, he said.

N Vasudevan, chief conservator of forests, Mangrove Cell, told The Hindu that the authorities were facing the challenge to dispose the carcass, which had become bloated. He said that the mammal's organs could not be preserved because there was a risk of explosion of the body due to bloating.

The beaching of whale follows another incident of washing up of whales off the coast of the city of Tuticorin, in southern India. As many as 400 small-fin whales had beached themselves in early January on the city's shores. Authorities speculated that a change in the tide current caused such a large whale stranding.

Stranding of whales were frequent in other parts of the world too in Jnauary. Five giant sperm whales died after becoming stranded on the Dutch island of Texel in mid of January. In another case, a 50ft sperm whale was found dead on the beach in Hunstanton, Norfolk.