||Havelock Museum Society Inc.
||Percy the Pilot Whale.
Long finned Pilot whale, fibre glass model. Made for a Te Papa Museum exhibition. Offered to Nelson Museum c.2004 by Te Papa, but referred on to Havelock Museum. Now part of Marlborough Museum collection.
Long Finned Pilot Whale
Size: 4 - 6 metres
Range: cold temperate, and sub-polar North Atlantic, and Southern Ocean
Threats: hunting / whaling
Diet: squid or octopus, and schooling fish
Globicephala means round-headed, and the long-finned pilot whale has a very distinctive, rounded, bulbous forehead. The large forehead overhangs the beak particularly in older males. The body is sturdy, and has a thickened tail stock, and a prominent dorsal fin. This dorsal fin is deeply concave, and half way down the body. The tail flukes are notched, and have sharply pointed tips.
Long-finned pilot whales inhabit cold temperate to sub-polar waters in both the Northern, and Southern Hemisphere, except in the North Pacific. They used to be found in the North Pacific, but today they have completely disappeared from the area. The north, and south populations are widely separated by the warm tropical waters, and are sometimes considered two separate sub-species. Both prefer deep water, but migrate to follow the squid populations.
Their diet consists of squid, and small octopus but have been known to feed on schooling fish as well.
The long-finned pilot whales usually travel in groups of 10 - 50, and sometimes up to 100 or more. Occasionally super-pods of thousands of these whales are seen together. They have a strong blow about 1 metre high which is easily visible, and they tend to take a few short breaths before making a longer dive for about 10 minutes, which may reach a depth of 600 metres.
The long-finned pilot whale has been heavily exploited over the centuries but is still fairly abundant. Its numbers are insufficiently known, but it is extinct in the North Pacific, and it is still hunted in the North Atlantic.