Located within the borders of the International Whaling Commission’s Protected Zone in the waters of the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka is gradually turning out to be a favoured island destination for Whale Watching with sightings of varieties of Baleen whales and Toothed whales. Our little island stands proud as a destination for all year round recreational activities. Over a hundred rivers and eco systems contribute to the ocean around Sri Lanka. With the swell during the monsoon season as well as the island’s perfect location and its proximity to the continental shelf creates the perfect condition to support the food chain in the warm tropical water systems of Sri Lanka.
Whale Species That Live In Sri Lankan Waters
The Balaenoptera musculus indica, is a subspecies of the Blue Whale (Balaenoptera musculus), the largest animal known to have existed. The blue whale is listed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, but the threat status of the blue whales spotted in Sri Lankan waters is yet unknown, de Vos said. The blue whale can grow up to 98 ft long and weigh up to 173 tonnes. It is a blueish-grey colour with an underside of ‘sulphur’ giving rise to the nickname ‘sulphur bottom’.
Bryde’s whale, Balaenoptera edeni, is named after Johan Bryde who established the first whaling station in South Africa in 1909. Although it is unclear how many subspecies of Bryde’s whale exists, the species Balaenoptera edeni is believed to inhabit the warmer waters of the Indo-Pacific ocean. The Bryde’s whale has three parallel ridges on the top of its head and between 40 and 70 throat pleats which allow its mouth to expand when feeding.
The Sperm Whale, Physeter macrocephalus, is easily recognized by its massive head and prominent rounded forehead—it also has the largest brain of any living creature known. Its head holds a substance called ‘spermaceti’ which early scientists believed were sperms, but the actual function of the semi-liquid substance is yet unknown. It is the largest of the toothed whales and the largest toothed predator— and has between 18 to 26 teeth on each side of its lower jaw, which fit into sockets in the upper jaw.
Spotting the Megaptera novaeangliae, or the Humpback Whale, in Sri Lankan waters is extremely rare, Asha de Vos told Roar Media. The Humpback whale is dark grey, with some areas of white and has long pectoral fins and a knobbly head. It can reach 60 ft in length, and adult females are typically larger than adult males. The Humpback whale typically lives for about 50 years and feeds on crustaceans such as krill, plankton, and small fish.
A major spot for Dolphin watching, Sri Lanka is located with a protected zone in the Indian Ocean. Spotting pods of dolphins along the North Western and Southern coast of Sri Lanka is always a memorable experience. Large pods of dolphins are always visible during the migration season while the best months to witness these blessed creatures are from November to April Mirissa
Ochre Whale ( Killer Whales)
Orcas are incredibly popular as they are the most widely distributed of all whales and dolphins, found in every single ocean! They are very familiar with their black and white colouring but actually, depending on where they live, have very different appearances, behavior, ways of communicating and diet! Find out some amazing facts below about the incredible orcas.