Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Unfortunate visitors; dwarf sperm whale, and an Olive Ridley sea turtle.


Last week, we made a sad discovery. A dead dwarf sperm whale (Kogia sima) 2,2 meters in length, was stranded on the eastern beach of Lankanfushi.

Eastern side of our island (where the stranding took place) is characterized by a shallow (generally less than 1 meter deep) coral reef flat that is effectively the edge of North Male Atoll, and borders the open Indian Ocean. It is likely that the whale got thrown into the lagoon by the heavy ground surge, panicked in the shallows, bruised itself on the abundant coral growth, and eventually beached itself. We did what we could do; identified the whale, took measurements and pictures and reported all the data to Marine Research Centre in Male. 

Dwarf sperm whale is the smallest cetacean species known as a whale. It grows up to 2.7 meters in length. It is thought to feed on deep-water squid. Identifying characters include the relatively small size, one blow-hole, tiny lower jaw; which is a characteristic feature of sperm whales.  For precise identification of the species certain measurements were needed; for more information you can check this great ID key here... 

Within the same week our pontoon crew also discovered a positively buoyant Olive Ridley turtle (56 cm in length) struggling in our lagoon. The turtle, only had 1 flipper out of four remaining. We have asked Four Seasons Resort at Kuda Huraa to take care of it for now. Please check back for updates.
Due to modern day ocean debris problem, this particular turtle species gets in trouble quite often.  For more information on our previous experience with Olive Ridley Turtles please read this article here ...

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