The carcass of a whale shark has got the forest department investigating as to how exactly it landed in the sea near Madavad coast in Kodinar taluka. Forest officials admitted that post-mortem revealed that the liver of the fish was indeed missing.
“It appears that the liver has been removed. Preliminary investigation indicates the fish was killed somewhere else and dumped here. But nothing can be said till the investigation is over,” said chief wildlife warden CN Pandey on Monday.
The whale shark was found with three cuts, each 3 feet deep. It was first spotted by a few fishermen on Saturday afternoon who then informed the forest department. Dinesh Goswami of Prakruti Nature Club said this is the first instance of a whale shark being found with its liver missing since the programme to save the fish began. “Earlier, we would hear cases of it happening but as no whale shark was ever found, it was difficult to corroborate it. But now with this case, it is clear that someone is poaching on these fishes as their liver is of great value.
The matter needs to be thoroughly investigated,” said Goswami. He said that the forest department should immediately start looking for boats that may have been water-proofed with whale shark liver oil.
The Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) strongly denied the allegations that the camera given to fishermen to take pictures of whale sharks caught in their net could have in some way encouraged poaching. It was an initiative by the forest department and WTI to arm the fishermen with cameras, to reduce the stress on sharks. “Following our whale shark campaign, fishermen began to proactively release whale sharks caught in their nets. Earlier, boats would have to drag the fish to areas where they would get mobile signals, then wait for the rescue team to arrive and then release the fish. More....