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The Balearic Sea, A Meeting Point for Sperm Whales

A large population of sperm whales gather around the Balearic islands

featured in News & reviews Author Ana Hernández, Mallorca Editor Updated

The Balearic Sea has proved, once again, to be one of the richest ecosystems in the Mediterranean. A local association, "Tursiops", has just finished the second phase on their study of cetaceans in the area, concluding that the western Mediterranean sperm whale population choose the area around Mallorca and Ibiza to meet yearly.

There are around 400 individuals in the region, and biologists believe that they gather around the Balearics to feed and reproduce. Their size is slightly smaller than the Atlantic sperm whales, and they even have their own "dialect", a selection of clicks with which they communicate their location and which are different to other groups.

The sperm whale has been classified as a vulnerable species by the Spanish government due to problems with fishing nets and boat's propellers. The aim of the research project ESTEMAR is to discover how sperm whale populations behave and change throughout the seasons to ultimately create reserves for them and modify maritime routes.

Tursiops sometimes take volunteers on their research trips, mainly during summer. Although the 2015 campaign has finished, on their website (in Spanish) they announce opportunities to accompany them and help monitor Balearic cetaceans.