Pygmy Sperm Whale, Yellowsands (East London)

Ms Janna Cooper of Gonubie reported a sighting of a whale floating inshore at Yellowsands on Sunday 8th September 2013. Museum scientist Kevin Cole investigated the report and found a dead Pygmy Sperm Whale Kogia breviceps beached at Yellowsands near East London.

The animal measured 1.73 meters and was a calf of the species which seemed to have died due to injuries sustained by a ski-boat propeller.

Pygmy Sperm Whale calf  Kogia breviceps

Pygmy Sperm Whale calf
Kogia breviceps

These whales are found in temperate to tropical waters and reach a maximum length of 3.5 m. They have a squarish short head with a underslung lower jaw. They are slow deliberate swimmers and have an almost invisible blow.

Pygmy Sperm Whale

Pygmy Sperm Whale

This is a first record for the museum in the past two decades of the species. A necropsy was not undertaken as the external injuries were deemed to be the cause of death.

51 individuals were accidentally captured in 1993 by floating Japanese and Taiwanese nets which were operating in the North Pacific.

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About East London Museum Science

Conservation Biologist East London Museum South Africa
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