The carcass of Omura’s whale, extremely rare species of whale that was feared to be extinct, was found washed up in Exmouth, Western Australia following Tropical Cyclone “Olwyn” which tore through the area last month.
The 5.68 m juvenile female whale was identified by the Department of Parks and Wildlife using DNA profiling.
Western Australia Environment Minister Albert Jacob said this find is highly significant for whale scientists in Western Australia and researchers globally because there have not been many recorded sightings of this species, so very little is known about it.
“Omura’s whale was only described in scientific journals for the first time in 2003 and is apparently restricted to tropical and subtropical waters. The knowledge we gain from this whale will help to improve field identification guides to better understand the whale’s regional distribution,” Jacob said and added that scientists know a fair bit about many whale species but this exciting discovery shows there is still so much more to learn in our oceans.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature says that only a handful of Omura’s whales have been found before, including in the Sea of Japan and the Solomon Sea. (BBC)
The carcass has been buried and the skeleton will be recovered in a few years for further scientific investigation and possibly for public display in museums.
Featured image credit: Rare species of whale washed up on Western Australia – March/April 2015. Credit: Channel Seven News.