ECONOMYNEXT – The several dozen large marine mammals who have been beached off Panadura today are short-finned Pilot Whales and may be suffering due to Nitrogen Saturation, a Marine expert said.
Dr Terney Pradeep Kumara, General Manager of the Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) told EconomyNext the whales may be very seriously injured.
He said they are showing signs of the effects of a deep dive probably forced by encountering ships using sonar.
“These whales navigate using sonar and when they encounter shipping which is also using sonar tend to dive deep to escape,” he said.
If they dive as deep as a kilometer they become saturated with nitrogen – a condition that deep divers sometimes get called “bends” he explained.
“We can’t be certain until we carry out a postmortem examination,” Kumara who is a Marine Biologist said.
This is a rare incident in Sri Lanka and has not happened in a long time he added.
A similar incident had taken place in Australia last month he said.
The Police, the Coastguard and the Wildlife Department are on the scene and a MEPA team is “on the way,” Kumara added. (Colombo, November 2, 2020)
Reported by Arjuna Ranawana