NOAA conducts research on the acoustic environment of cetaceans, including sperm whales. Together with our partners, we undertake numerous activities to support the goals of the sperm whale recovery plan. NOAA Fisheries was petitioned to list sperm whale in the Gulf of Mexico as an endangered or threatened distinct population segment under the Endangered Species Act. Sperm whales inhabit all of the worlds oceans. After a 14 to 16-month gestation period, a single calf about 13 feet long is born. In 1970, the sperm whale was listed as endangered throughout its range under the Endangered Species Conservation Act of 1969. NOAA Fisheries increases public awareness and support for marine mammal conservation through education, outreach, and public participation. Sperm whales are the largest of the toothed whales and have one of the widest global distributions of any marine mammal species. Sperm whales can become entangled in many different types of fishing gear, including trap lines, pots, and gillnets. In some mid-latitudes, sperm whales seem to generally migrate north and south depending on the seasons, moving toward the poles in the summer. Learn more about the Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program. For about the first 10 years of life, males are only slightly larger than females, but males continue to exhibit substantial growth until they are well into their 30s. Marine mammals are considered to be good indicators for concentrations of metal and pollutant accumulation in the environment due to their long lifespan and (in some cases) position near the top of marine food webs. This includes squid, sharks, skates, and fish. Sperm whales are the only living cetacean that has a single blowhole asymmetrically situated on the left side of the crown of the head. The blue whales live in pairs or alone and are very vocal in nature. Tracks the implementation of recovery actions from Endangered Species Act (ESA) recovery plans. Oil – Lamp oil, soap, perfume, candles and cosmetics. The skin just behind the head is often wrinkled. Yes, sperm whales are currently considered an endangered species. We regularly share information with the public about the status of sperm whales, our research, and our efforts to promote their recovery. They are also highly sociable animals and live together in large groups of 15 to 20 animals where females often exhibit communal nursing. Numerous organizations around the country are trained and ready to respond. The sperm whales consume nearly a ton of fish and squids a day and often dive as much as 3,280 feet below the ocean in search of prey. Eliminating the harassment of animals through education and enforcement. Measuring the response of animals to sound. We use the genetic data to determine patterns of relatedness within groups of sperm whales encountered at sea. NOAA Fisheries and our partners are dedicated to conserving and rebuilding the sperm whale population. They are capable of diving to depths of over 10,000 feet for over 60 minutes. Responding to entangled or stranded sperm whales. Sperm whales hunt for food during deep dives that routinely reach depths of 2,000 feet and can last for 45 minutes. and various other products including tools such as fishing hooks. In fact it is estimated that during the whaling era (which occurred between the 17th and 20th centuries) as many as 1,000,000 sperm whales were killed (possibly more) and had their body parts used for various products and goods. New England/Mid-Atlantic, Scientists believe this substance could aid in the movement of whales by altering their buoyancy. When stranded animals are found dead, our scientists work to understand and investigate the cause of death. Acquire scientific information from dead specimens. Worldwide, sperm whales number about 1,500,000. Today, only 80,000 of these animals remain, forcing the IUCN to classify the sei whales as endangered. Few vessel strikes to sperm whales have been documented, but vessel traffic worldwide is increasing, which increases the risk of collisions. Spermaceti, obtained primarily from the spermaceti organ, and sperm oil, obtained primarily from the blubber in the body, were much sought after by 18th, 19th, and 20th century whalers. Their distribution is dependent on their food source and suitable conditions for breeding, and varies with the sex and age composition of the group. Marine debris, Rescue, disentanglement, and rehabilitation. Under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, an unusual mortality event (UME) is defined as "a stranding that is unexpected; involves a significant die-off of any marine mammal population; and demands immediate response." During this time in history sperm whales were being hunted for their oil, blubber and meat which was used to produce various materials and food such as: Today current estimates regarding this species have been very difficult pin point however it has been estimated that anywhere from 200,000 to over 1,500,000 sperm whales may still be in existence. The major actions recommended in the plan are: Learn more about the recovery plan for sperm whales. The teeth in the upper jaw rarely break through the gums. Spacial data and maps of critical habitat and Endangered Species Act (ESA) threatened and…. Ocean noise, Although the cause often remains unknown, scientists can sometimes identify strandings due to disease, harmful algal blooms, vessel strikes, fishing gear entanglements, pollution exposure, and underwater noise. The sperm whale is listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act and depleted under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Their rapid decline in population is a result of accidental deaths upon impacts with ships, entanglement in fishing gear, climate change and previous episodes of mass-scale poaching for oil. The sperm whale is one the deepest diving marine mammal known to mankind and the spermaceti oil may be the reason this whale is able to dive to such depths when it is searching for food. The fin whales posses a long, slender body, perfectly streamlined to swim at speeds faster than that of many man-made steamships. Efforts to conserve sperm whales include: A sperm whale dives. These whales are also excellent swimmers and can move at speeds as high as 50 kilometers per hour. Educating the public about sperm whales and the threats they face. Sperm whale flippers are paddle-shaped and small compared to the size of the body, and their flukes are triangular. Studying oceanic cetacean societies: their diversity, complexity, and conservation. Sperm whales can ingest marine debris, as do many marine animals. Commercial whaling from 1800 to the 1980’s greatly decreased sperm whale population worldwide. While females generally stay with the same unit all their lives in and around tropical waters, young males will leave when they are between 4 and 21 years old and can be found in "bachelor schools,” comprised of other males that are about the same age and size. Originally this organ was thought to produce sperm for the whale so that it could mate and bare offspring, however over time researchers have been able to debunk the long-standing myth that spermaceti oil and the organ that produces the oil has anything to do with the sperm whales reproductive system.