Welcome to the Marine Mammal and wildlife Research and Community Development Expedition blog where you can keep up to date with all the happenings and information from Kenya

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Sperm Whale Confirmed in Kenyan Waters!

In 2005 fishermen in Mkwiro found a dead whale stranded on the beach. The whale was fairly intact and a quick thinking local, Ali Salim was able to get photographs of it. Over the years people have looked at the photos and suggested it may be a number of species ranging from humpback to sperm whale.

It was only in the last month when our marine officer was given the photos that it was positively identified as a sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus). This is very exciting news for GVI as it is the first time that a sperm whale (dead or alive) has been positively identified in Kenyan waters.

- Sperm whale back in 2005-

It is thought that this individual was probably a male, due to its size (males and females are sexually dimorphic, where the male is larger than the femaale). Older male sperm whales are often solitary and only join breeding groups for small periods of time.

Sperm whales were one of the most heavily exploited species and although still fairly abundant their population size is unknown. They are generally found offshore but can be found near the edges of continental shelves.

It is unknown why this particular individual became stranded but we will hopefully come across live sperm whales in Kenyan waters in the near future.