U.S. Department of Commerce


Date of this Version



Paper SC/61/SM1 presented to the International Whaling Commission Scientific Committee, June 2009, Madeira, Portugal (unpublished). 20pp.


Pygmy killer whales, Feresa attentuata, are known worldwide from tropical to warm-temperate waters. The first recorded mass stranding event (MSE) of this species occurred in January 1968 in South Africa. We documented 16 MSEs to April 2006 in Bali, Indonesia. The number of animals involved in these MSEs ranged from 3 to 28, but most MSEs were less than eight animals. Taiwan was identified as a major hot spot for these MSEs with 25% of the events occurring since 1995 in a relatively small section of coastline in the south-west. Three additional near MSEs were documented from Taiwan between 1995 and 2005. We found no relationship between date of the MSEs or near MSEs and the moon phase. We propose that the most plausible explanation for these MSEs and near MSEs at least around Taiwan is anthropogenic sound.