Sperm Whale Project

In Sri Lanka sperm whales are found throughout the islands territorial waters, in small pods of 1 to 15 individuals, with the occasional pod of 30 or more individuals being recorded from the northeast, southern and northwestern coastal waters. However, during the months of March and April large aggregation of sperm whales have been recorded in recent years, numbering over 100 individuals in each super pod, but reasons for these aggregations are poorly understood, large aggregation of this sort has only been documented in a very few places around the world. Anecdotal reports suggest that during the months of March and April sperm whales aggregate in large pods to breed and calve in the stipulated areas around Sri Lanka, with high encounter rates during whale watching excursions in the said months. At present, no baseline information exists on this in Sri Lankan waters. As such, this study aims to:

Research Plan and Methodology
The research program poses several questions related to the presence and large aggregations of sperm whales along the Northeastern, southern and northwestern coast of Sri Lanka. The questions are designed to provide information to better understand the unique aggregation of sperm whales in Sri Lanka, their migratory route of both males and females that will ultimately enable better conservation of the species locally and regionally. The finding of this research will be published in international peer reviewed journals.


  1. Understand sperm whale movements and their annual variability
  2. Compare sperm whale population off Sri Lanka with other populations of sperm whales around the Indian Ocean using photo identification.
  3. Maintain a catalogue of large male sperm whales (15m and above) through photo identification methods.
  4. Develop and catalogue of sperm whale codas and compare with other available coda catalogues from around the world.