A white cachalot in Italian waters: the exceptional images captured by Tethys
Video by Tethys Research Institute (tethys.org)
SANREMO – Moby Dick lives in the Ligurian Sea, in Italy. And she is female: her name is Sabina. The unusual sighting occurred on the occasion of the departure of the traditional cruises of the Cetacean Sanctuary Project (CSR) of the Tethys Institute for research on Mediterranean cetaceans: in the waters in front of Sanremo – where, from the beginning, the research ship “Pelagos” has been operating – last weekend the rare cachalot – white sperm whale (in the pic below by S. Airoldi and the video above by Tethys Research Institute) was sighted, an animal already known by Tethys since 2017 when it was first sighted in the company of a smaller individual, but dark in color, the typical one of sperm whales (Physeter Macrocephalus) , which would suggest that it is a female who has been given the name of Sabina.
The researchers, thanks also to the collaboration with universities such as Pavia (in particular CIBRA, Interdisciplinary Center of Bioacoustics and Environmental Research) and Foggia, have obtained further data: for example, the size of the Sabina would be about 10 meters.
Cachalots are the “stars” of CSR research cruises, together with the other 7 cetacean species studied by the project. The activities are based on the collaboration at sea, on week-long shifts, of public participants (citizen science) to whom special themed weeks will also be reserved at certain times. In some shifts, experts from various disciplines will be on board, always in some way linked to the theme of cetaceans and sea conservation: from photography, to microscope analyzes, to the latest technologies such as drones and satellite localization.
The shifts of the CSR, which began in mid-May, will continue until the end of September. “To participate – they explain from the Institute – no specific knowledge or previous experience is required, only enthusiasm and desire to learn aboard ‘Pelagos’, the great motorsailer of Flash Vela d’Altura that hosts up to 11 participants, in addition to researchers and the skipper”. The base of embarkation and disembarkation is, as always, Portosole in Sanremo.
Info and registrations: https://whalesanddolphins.tethys.org/join-us/cetacean-sanctuary-research/