The 10m-long whale found on the beach of Cabo de Palos in the Spanish region of Murcia on February 27, was unusually thin. Sperm whales usually eat giant squid as well as octopus, small sharks and other fish but this whale had eaten plastic bags, ropes, nets, a drum line, a plastic water container and sacks of straw. Local authorities in Spain have now started a campaign to clean up its beaches and oceans. Around million tonnes of plastic is floating in our oceans with an extra eight million tonnes entering the water each year. This has created polluted areas called Great Garbage Patches.
National Marine Mammal Laboratory
It is the only living member of the genus Physeter and one of three extant species in the sperm whale family , along with the pygmy sperm whale and dwarf sperm whale of the genus Kogia. The sperm whale is a pelagic mammal with a worldwide range, and will migrate seasonally for feeding and breeding. The females cooperate to protect and nurse their young. Females give birth every four to 20 years, and care for the calves for more than a decade. A mature sperm whale has few natural predators, although calves and weakened adults are sometimes killed by pods of killer whales orcas. Sperm whales can live for more than 60 years.
Marine Mammal Laboratory
The sperm whale, also called a cachalot, made its biggest public splash in the guise of Moby Dick. The whale is generally gray with wrinkled, prune-like skin covering a torpedo-shaped body. The blunt head of the sperm whale accounts for a third of its body length, and much of it is filled with a waxy, oily substance called spermaceti that lies above and in front of the skull. This substance once was used for fine lubrication and for fueling lamps. Whales are mammals, which means the sperm whale has lungs and breathes air.
The sperm whale may be one of the most successful animals in the ocean, boasting a global distribution that survived the toll of the 20th century, when whaling factory fleets took three million great whales from the seas. Now a newly identified population in the Indian Ocean is attracting the attention of scientists, conservationists — and soon, tourists, too. How will this whale weather the new storm of attention?