Why is the sperm whale important


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The sperm whale Physeter macrocephalus or cachalot [a] is the largest of the toothed whales and the largest toothed predator. It is the only living member of the genus Physeter and one of three extant species in the sperm whale familyalong with the pygmy sperm whale and dwarf sperm whale of the genus Kogia. The sperm whale is a pelagic mammal with a worldwide range, and will migrate seasonally for feeding and breeding. The females cooperate to protect and nurse their young.

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Sperm whale

When the International Whaling Commission meets in Morocco next week to discuss lifting the moratorium on commercial whaling, delegates might pause to consider an unexpected fact: the faeces of sperm whales is helping to save the planet. Australian researchers have found that the iron-rich faeces of sperm whales living in the Southern Ocean boosts the growth of phytoplankton, marine plants which suck in carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. They estimate that the whales are responsible for removingtonnes of carbon each year, twice as much as they contribute through respiration. According to the scientists, based at Adelaide's Flinders University, they would be disposing of 10 times as much carbon were it not for commercial whaling.

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Sperm whaling

Sperm whales are easily recognized: they have massive heads and prominent rounded foreheads. Their heads hold large quantities of a substance called spermaceti, which gives them their name. Sperm whales are considered a cosmopolitan species, meaning their range extends across all or most of the world in appropriate habitats.

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This page has been archived and is no longer updated. The future of Japanese whaling is currently under heavy discussion in the International Court of Justice. Arguments and counterarguments for whaling have been much discussed in the scientific literaturepolicy realm and in the mediaand in the coming months a final decision will be made on the future of whaling in Japan. Arguments in favour of the practice include traditional subsistence whaling a case made for countries such as Canada and Greenland and whaling for scientific research the primary case made for whaling in Japan.