Once-in-a-lifetime experience

Four days ago a small number of people had the most amazing experience of their lifes off the coast of Long Beach, CA (USA). A pod of 16 sperm whales was travelling 12 nautical miles offshore in the waters of the Catalina Channel, between Catalina Island and the main coast.

Alisa Schulman-Janiger who heads up the Los Angeles Chapter of the American Cetacean Society‘s (ACS) Grey Whale Census and Behavior Project told that sperm whales are occasionally spotted solitary or in very small groups off the Southern California coast. She also said it had been at least three decades since volunteers on the peninsula in 1976 spotted a pod of three to six sperm whales, The most recent sighting dates back to December 10, 2005.

A journal article reporting on the event can be read on the Long Beach Post website and a video of the sighting can be watched here.

Sperm whales also occur in the Mediterranean Sea where it is one of eight cetacean species considered to be regular inhabitants. The Mediterranean sperm whale population, that is thought to have considerably declined, qualifies as Endangered in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Large pods of sperm whales are rare in the Mediterranean Basin and these kind of events can be counted on one’s fingers.

For more information on Mediterranean sperm whales see:

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