The Star/ Asia News Network
A pair of orcas or killer whales were sighted, believed to be for the first time in Terengganu waters, near the Pelantar Dulang Petronas oil drilling platform, off Kerteh.
The sighting of the whales – a species famous for being featured in the Free Willy movies – was recorded by some of the Petronas staff there on Tuesday.
Rantau Abang Fisheries Research Institute (FRI), Marine Mammals branch head Mohd Tamimi Ali Ahmad confirmed that the mammals sighted by the Petronas staff were orcas.
“Based on records kept by the Rantau Abang FRI and the Malaysian Fisheries Department, orcas had never appeared in Terengganu before.
The date – July 16, 2019 – is also historic as it was the first time the mammal was seen in Terengganu waters.
“We believe that the two marine mammals are a pair,” Mohd Tamimi said.
The whales are estimated to be between 6m- and 8m-long and weigh between 5,000kg and 6,000kg each.
Mohd Tamimi Ali said the orca is much feared as it is at the top of the list of predators in the marine ecosystem food chain and feeds on squids, turtles, seabirds, sharks and other marine mammals, including seals and dolphins.
He said the whale was a protected species and any sighting of the mammal should be reported to the state or district fisheries office.