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After orcas, now PILOT WHALES spotted in T’ganu sea for the FIRST time (Video)

After orcas, now PILOT WHALES spotted in T’ganu sea for the FIRST time (Video)

Kirat Kaur

Terengganu has been going wild recently hasn’t it? We’ve spotted killer whales (orcas), tigers, bears and now… PILOT WHALES.

Yes, short-finned pilot whales were spotted splashing near Pulau Perhentian!

Picture Credit: G-FOMASA VLOG/YouTube

A video recording by fishermen has emerged showing about 10 to 50 pilot whales swimming in Besut waters, about 30 kilometres from shore last Wednesday.

According to Astro Awani, this species of pilot whales have never been spotted in Terengganu waters before. The appearance of this mammal is the first ever reported sighting!

Picture Credit: G-FOMASA VLOG/YouTube

Bestowed with a scientific name of Globicephala macrorhynchus, short-finned pilot whales are considered an endangered species and are on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Picture Credit: NOAA Fisheries

In Malaysia, short-finned pilot whales are protected under section 27 of the Fisheries Act 1985.

Why were they here?

They’re typically found in warm, tropical and temperate oceans and typically prefer deeper waters where most of their food (squids) live.

Global distribution of short-finned pilot whales
(Picture Credit: IUCN Red List)

This could be the reason why they were spotted in Terengganu waters, as stated by Fisheries Research Institute (FRI)’s Marine Mammal Branch chief, Mohd Tamimi Ali Ahmad:

“Perhaps because Terengganu’s waters have abundant squids, these pilot whales have made the South China Sea a part of their migration route”

Mohd Tamimi Ali Ahmad, Marine Mammal Branch chief, FRI via Astro Awani.

Why are they called pilot whales?

Short-finned pilot whales actually have many names from pothead whale, blackfish and even “cheetahs of the deep sea” for their high-speed, sprint-dives to capture prey.

Picture Credit: Tenerife

However, the name “pilot whale” comes from an old theory that the pod of whales was ‘piloted’ by a single leader. Which turned out to be false but the name stuck ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Fun fact: Pilot whales are NOT whales, but are large dolphins!

They’re the second largest member of the oceanic dolphin family (orcas are the first).

Picture Credit: MEME

Now that you know a little bit about these bulbous-headed creatures, you can watch the video of them swimming in Terengganu waters below:


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