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Over 100 sperm whales gather in Kalpitiya, onlookers puzzled

Apr 17, 2012 2:27:07 PM - sundaytimes.lk

An aggregation of over 100 Sperm Whales in seas around Kalpitiya left many onlooker puzzle. This unusually large aggregation
was first recorded around Bar Reef area of Kalpitiya. Upali Mallikarachchi of Marine & Coastal Resources Conservation Foundation who witnessed the large gathering last weekend said these Whales were seen swimming toward North on Saturday.

Whales are capable of sensing sound from underwater and there is also speculation that the sound waves and shock waves
generated by the underwater earthquake last week could trigger this sudden aggregation. Another phenomenon is that underwater drilling that has been done for oil exploration too could have an impact

The whales eventually dispersed by breaking into few groups, said naturalists who had gone to observe this unusual gathering.

A mature Sperm Whale male can grow to 20.5 metres (67 ft) long. The block-shaped head of the Sperm Whale is one-quarter to one-third of the
animal's length which makes it easier to identify. Large aggregation of Sperm Whales has been recorded even in the past, but timing of this
gathering also puzzled the Whale Watchers.


But marine biologist and whale expert Asha de Vos says that large aggregation of whales is not that uncommon. Tropical waters are the ideal habitat for maternal groups of Sperm Whales and sometimes maternal groups come together making the aggregation into large
numbers. Asha says that she has also seen areas where there were about 40 whales in the past.

However, many whale watching operators  say they feel an unusual increase in whale sightings leaving questions for Marine Biologists.