- After leaving the Gulf of Oman two months ago, Luban, a satellite-tracked humpback whale, is currently visiting Kerala waters.
- Researchers have tracked the female marine mammal in Kerala waters on January 1.
- Luban was one of the 14 whales that was tagged by the Environment Society of Oman under the Renaissance Whale and Dolphin Project.
- The animal was named Luban, the Arabic name for the Frankincense tree, after the tree-shaped pattern at the base of its tail fluke.
- It began heading east, across the Indian Ocean on December 12. After completing a journey of around 1,500 km, it reached off the coast of Goa during the last week of December.
- It stayed 30 km off the Kochi coast on the New Year eve and has started migrating further south towards Alappuzha, the communication said.
- The Department has been partnering with the Omanese society in tracking the animal as part of the efforts for documenting the marine biodiversity of Indian waters.
- Satellite data revealed that the animal was heading steadily towards south at a pace of 5km/hr.
- The humpback whale is one of the four species of baleen whales occurring in Indian waters and it is one of the least studied species in India.
- Scientists opined that the animal might be searching for a suitable mate in Indian waters.
- The rich and productive waters off southwest coast of India may also provide it with copious supply of favourite food, the communication said.
- The researchers tracked the movement of the animal with the assistance of an Indian Coast Guard ship to make a survey around Kochi to locate the migrating Luban.