On the 26th of August 2012 we received the news that a dead sperm whale had stranded in Bleik beach. We headed as soon as possible to find it laying on an open beach, with very easy access. We were lucky enough since the animal was relatively fresh (between 1 and 2 weeks old) and its jaw still had all its teeth on it.
That same afternoon it was impossible for us to reach him, due to the rising tide, but we went back the next days, and thanks to the help of Dutch tourists that were with us in a Whalesafari trip, we were able to collect skin samples and several teeth, both from the lower and upper jaws. The samples will be used for Marta Acosta Plata’s PhD research project in the future.
To our surprise, the male sperm whale was much longer than it looked, reaching 13.75m in length. Its tail was 3.35m long. These and other measures are helpful to estimate the age of the individual. Additionally, one tooth will be analyzed for this purpose in the near future.
The cause of dead is so far unknown, and the animal did not show any wounds or signs of interactions with human activities. Unfortunately, we were not able to open the stomach to collect samples.
We would like to thank all collaborators, volunteers, locals and tourists for their help.