Weighing about 275 pounds and approximately 25feet in length, what appears to be juvenile sperm whale was seen at two locations in the Essequibo River over the last two days.
Environmentalists are worried that the whale’s death may be linked to seismic surveys that are being undertaken by oil several companies offshore Guyana.
Annette Arjoon spoke to this newspaper yesterday in her capacity as President of the Guyana Marine Conservation Society.
She thanked the persons who brought the whale’s demise to her attention and said, “From the photos, it looks like a juvenile sperm whale but myself and Calvin Bernard from the University of Guyana and Denzel from the Ministry of Agriculture, Department of Fishers will partner for the necessary follow up activities.
She said that these activities will entail trying to identify the whale’s present location and exploring the possibility of further investigation as to the cause of death.
Further, Arjoon said, “we will depend on our extensive network to ensure that the communities in the coastal areas can become more involved in reporting on these unfortunate incidents. I hope that we can also commence some training as well as equipping these important stakeholders to enable them to become actively involved in the very necessary monitoring of our marine spaces.”
Arjoon said that seismic surveys being undertaken by oil companies could have some influence on the whale’s demise.
This is not the first time in recent history that a whale of that particular species was discovered in Guyana’s waters. One was discovered as recent as 2014.
The sperm whale is the largest of the toothed whales and the largest toothed predator. It can be found anywhere in the open ocean. Mature males average at 16 metres (52 ft) in length but some may reach 20.5 metres (67 ft), with the head representing up to one-third of the animal’s length. The sperm whale feeds primarily on squid. Plunging to 2,250 metres (7,380 ft) for prey, it is the second deepest diving mammal, following only the Cuvier’s beaked whale.
The sperm whale has the largest brain of any animal on Earth, more than five times heavier than a human’s. Sperm whales can live for more than 60 years.
The head of the whale contains a liquid wax called spermaceti, from which the whale derives its name. Spermaceti was used in lubricants, oil lamps, and candles. Occasionally the sperm whale’s great size allows it to defend itself effectively against whalers. The species is now protected by a whaling moratorium, and is currently listed as vulnerable.
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