Whales are often thought of as mysterious creatures of the deep, but they're more connected to us and our ecosystem than we realise. Awareness of the importance of marine and freshwater ecology and biodiversity is on the rise, however, we need to do much more to conserve and protect the denizens of our oceans. Marine mammal research in India is advancing slowly – it's evident there's plenty we don't know. 

Mass whale strandings occur across the world, for causes still unknown. Last year, around 100 Short-finned Pilot Whales beached in Tamil Nadu. More than half of them didn't survive. At the time, I was collaborating with ecologist Dipani Sutaria to create an identification poster featuring whale species. The memory of all the lives that were lost remains like a stamp on our work. This GIF is a spin-off from the illustrations I created.

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