Sperm Whales are denizens of the deep. Known to hold their breaths for up to an hour and dive down to depths of 6,000 feet, they are considered elusive by many marine biologists.
This morning, a Sperm Whale emerged from the Pacific and washed up on the rocks of Portuguese Beach near the town of Mendocino.
Sarah Grimes, the Noyo Center for Marine Science’s Marine Mammal Stranding Coordinator spoke to us while on the scene this morning and gave us insight into her observations.
The whale seems to be caught on some sort of reef off the shore of the beach, Grimes said. Its location remains completely inaccessible for closer evaluation. Grimes is attempting to get clearance to use a drone for close up views of the whale.
Due to its location, the exact size and gender of the whale are difficult to determine, but Grimes said it appears to be large.
She said it is “pretty darn rare” to see a Sperm Whale wash up on shore. The only other time she has seen one was around 10 years ago when a calf washed up near Gualala.
If the whale comes inland, Grimes will request agencies to assist in the analysis of the carcass. If it pushes further out to sea with the tides, marine observers will do their best to trace the path of the drifting carcass and if it comes to shore, the analysis will occur where it beaches.
Grimes told us she will provide us with updates as the situation develops.
If any members of the public find a dead animal washed up on the shores of Mendocino County, report them to Noyo Center’s Stranding Coordinator, Sarah Grimes at (707)-813-7925. If a live marine mammal in distress is located, contact the Marine Mammal Center at (415)-289-SEAL.