Published: 11th January 2021
#ThrowBackToday: Mass beaching of short-finned pilot whales on Thoothukudi beach frightens all
In today's #TBT, we take you back to January 11, 2016 when over 80 short-finned pilot whales were found on the shores of Tuticorin frightening citizens and scientists alike. This is what ensued
To the horror of the folks of Thoothukudi and indeed, the whole country — over 80 short-finned pilot whales had started washing up on a 15-km stretch of Manapad beach of this port town on January 11, 2016. Disoriented, even when the mammals were taken back to the sea by rescuers, these otherwise highly playful and social members of the oceanic dolphin family found their way back to the beach. The last time this happened was in the year 1973.
The name 'pilot' whale comes from an early school of thought that these whales were piloted by a leader. And since these whales travel in groups, an absence of a leader can confuse and derail the entire group. Hence, even though the help of a nearby marine park was availed, this incident remained shrouded in mystery. Called 'mass beaching', it is surely not a new occurrence.
What else happened today?
On January 11, 1964, a landmark report was published stating that smoking is injurious to health, prompting people to kick the butt. It was former Surgeon General of the United States Luther Terry who came up with this definitive report. In India, close to 1.3 million lives are lost due to tobacco-related ailments as per the Health Ministry.