Thomas Mackie14 Feb 2019 AT 11:51 AM

Rare false killer whales spotted off the coast of Fujairah

The first sighting in 24 years...
Thomas Mackie14 Feb 2019 AT 11:51 AM
Rare false killer whales spotted off the coast of Fujairah

A super rare group of false killer whales has been spotted off the coast of Fujairah and it's the first time the marine mammal has been seen in the area for 24 years.

The group of false killer whales, also known as Pseudorca crassidens, were seen around four or five kilometres off the Fujairah coastline on Saturday.

Stunning photographs of the animals which were taken by XR Hub Dive Centre and Ras Musandam Divers have been verified by scientists as showing the first recorded sighting of the false killer whale in the emirate since 1995.

So what actually is a Pseudorca crassidens?

False killer whales are one of the larger species of dolphins.

They can reach lengths of six metres and are usually found in deep tropical waters.

They have very similar heads to killer whales and a slender body which is how they got their name.

Why have they been spotted off the coast of Fujairah?

Scientists at the Fujairah Whale and Dolphin Research Project have been closely observing the emirate's waters over the last two years and, although they have not encountered false killer whales until now, they suspect the species travels widely throughout the Arabian Sea.

Robert Baldwin, a marine scientist and managing director of environmental consultancy Five Oceans Environmental Services said: “The sighting has raised the interests of scientists, who now believe the species is probably a more regular visitor than records suggest.

“They travel through the region, as do their close relative, the killer whale, which can also be seen near Fujairah.

“The rich waters of the UAE provide good hunting grounds for these remarkable, rarely seen marine mammals.”

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