WHALES BEACH THEMSELVES ON INDIAN COAST
(P1) At least 45 small PILOT WHALES, part of a group which WASHED ASHORE in Tiruchendur in Tamil Nadu, India, have died. More than 100 whales were found on the 16km stretch from Alanthalai to Kallamozhi coastal HAMLETS. 36 of them have been rescued by fishermen.
(P2) “The whales started reaching the shore in groups around 5pm. It is very strange. In 1973 when we were boys, we witnessed the same phenomenon. However, not as many whales washed ashore then,” said Rajan, a fisherman in Manapad.
(P3) Ditto Mascarenhas of Kulasekarapattinam said that if local fishermen had not INTERVENED, many more whales would have died. The fishermen remained awake the whole night to keep the whales in water by pulling them back to the sea.
(P4) Tuticorin district collector M Ravikumar inspected the coast. He said officials were investigating the reason for such a huge number of whales reaching the shore.
(P5) A team from the Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park in Ramanathapuram has rushed to the spot.
(P6) Former director of Zoological Survey of India K Venkataraman said cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises) are social MARINE mammals. They live in groups and if the leader of the group is disturbed due to underwater changes, they become DISORIENTED. They start drifting from their normal path and head towards the shoreline, leading to their deaths.
(P7) EARTHQUAKES and other oceanic disturbances could disorient cetaceans.
(P8) On Monday, an earthquake measuring 6.5 on the Richter scale and another one measuring 6.9 occurred in the Philippines and Indonesia, respectively. These could have disoriented the whales.
(P9) In India, the first report of mass STRANDING of this whale species was reported in Salt Lake in Kolkata in 1852. The maximum number of whales stranding on the Indian COASTLINE happened in 1973 during which time 147 whales got stranded, Venkataraman said.
(P10) Annually world over 2,000 whales get stranded. More than 1,500 whales have been stranded along the Indian coastline since 1800 till 2015.
(P11) So far no study on this issue has been made in India. One of the reasons is that not many funding agencies are ready to finance the study.
(P12) Studies of cetacean populations, BREEDING, habitat, and other related issues needed to be made by the government. Only such an effort would help in protecting these ENDANGERED marine mammals.
If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.
- Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
- When animals are in danger, people often PITCH IN to help. Why is this true?
- Are animals sensitive to environmental disturbances and signals that human beings cannot feel?
- Do earthquakes ever happen in your country?
- Have you ever seen a whale or dolphin in the ocean or in an AQUARIUM?
EXPRESSIONS TO PRACTICE:
What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.
- Wash ashore
- Pitch in