09 September 2011

Dead sperm whale adrift

On Monday night, I received a phone call from our friend and colleague Alexandros Frantzis from the Pelagos Cetacean Research Institute. He had been contacted by the Lefkas Animal Welfare Society (LAWS) to report to him the presence of a "dead large cetacean floating and wrapped up on fishing gear in the coastal waters of western Lefkada".

On Tuesday 6th, in the afternoon, I joined the friends from LAWS to visit the area, and try to find the dead animal. One hour after leaving the port of Lefkas town we encountered the highly decomposed corpse of a sperm whale floating adrift close to the western coast of Lefkada. What was reported initially as fishing gear resulted to be a long rope (like those using on sailing boats), which might indicate that the animal stranded somewhere else in the area several weeks earlier. That rope might have been used unsuccessfully in an attempt to get rid of the dead whale, which eventually ended up drifting towards Lefkada until it was found on Monday. The advanced state of decomposition of the animal (or what was left of it) and its remote location made impossible to tow it to a beach nearby for a more detailed examination.


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