– The Long Finned Pilot Whale Scientific name: Globicephala melas (Gm)
More "mysterious" than their cousins previously described, the pilot whale started to be studied by the scientific community recently. It is one of the largest toothed cetaceans measuring up to more than 5 meters long for a weight of over a ton! The pilot whale is quite regularly observed in the Mediterranean although its distribution is not homogeneous. There are several populations that generally tend to frequent cold to temperate waters. In addition, the pilot whale is able to wait in deep waters (up to 600 meters) to capture its favorite prey: squid.
According to some genetic studies, the groups would be formed following a matriarchal organization, comparable to that of orcas, where each member would have a defined "position". Social cohesion is such that we, sometimes, witness massive strandings.
The pilot whale is classified as "Data Deficient" on the conservation status scale and classified as Appendix II to CITES. More information on the conservation status on the following link: http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/9250/0
The Grindadrap: The biggest massacre of marine mammals in Europe: Every year in the Faroe Islands, hundreds of pilot whales are slaughtered in the name of tradition. Since the sixteenth century, thousands of pilot whales have been killed in the islands' bays by the population. In the past, this practice would have saved the islanders from hunger. Today, it is still practiced once a year on 23 different beaches for a total of about 1,500 slaughtered animals. Many organizations denounce this phenomenon and try to put an end to it.