Sperm Whale Toy
Sperm whales were hunted extensively from the 1700s to the 1900s for the spermaceti oil in their large heads, which is believed to help the whale sense its prey in the darkness of the deep sea through amplifying its echolocation. Echolocation is a sonar-like process in which the whale sends out sounds, which bounce back to the whale and provide information about its environment. Spermaceti was used for making lamps, candles, soaps, and make-up. The whales were also hunted for a substance in their digestive tracts called ambergris, which was used in perfumes.
Today, the species is protected nearly worldwide and commercial whaling has been largely halted globally. However, the Sperm Whale still faces threats from becoming tangled in fishing nets, and from being struck by large ships. Pollution also affects Sperm Whales, particularly by eating too much plastic garbage which has become very common in the ocean. The Sperm Whale is currently listed as “Vulnerable” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).