Sperm whales are the ocean’s greatest nomads, but one island in the Caribbean is creating a permanent home for them.
A roughly 300 square mile patch of ocean in the territorial waters of Dominica is the only place known on Earth where sperm whales can be seen regularly throughout the year when they arrive to breed, and it’s here that Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit of the island nation has established the world’s first sperm whale reserve.
“The 200 or so sperm whales that call our sea home are prized citizens of Dominica,” Mr. Skerrit said.
“Their ancestors likely inhabited Dominica before humans arrived. We want to ensure these majestic and highly intelligent animals are safe from harm and continue keeping our waters and our climate healthy.”
The marine reserve covers 800 square kilometers for those using metric, an area where commercial shipping and fishing will be forbidden from entering. Large ships can harm sperm whales, but smaller vessels, designated in the law as artisanal fishing, will be permitted inside the reserve provided their methods do not harm the whales.
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Sperm whales have the biggest teeth in the animal kingdom. They also have the biggest brains, and can pass down a unique cetacean culture that includes dialects of their clicking language.
Tourists will be able to view and swim with the creatures in sustainable numbers, BBC reports.
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