KUALA TERENGGANU: A pair of killer whales were spotted in Terengganu waters on Tuesday (Jul 16) in what is believed to be the first such sighting in the area.
The whales, also known as orcas, were sighted near the Pelantar Dulang Petronas oil drilling platform by Petronas employees.
In a statement, Rantau Abang Fisheries Research Institute (FRI) Marine Mammals branch head Mohd Tamimi Ali Ahmad confirmed that the animals sighted were killer whales.
“Based on records at the Rantau Abang FRI, the orca whale has never appeared in Terengganu,” he said. “The date, Jul 16, 2019, is historic as it was the first time the mammal was seen in Terengganu waters.”
Mohd Tamimi Ali added that the whales are believed to be a male and female pair.
The whales are estimated to be between six and eight metres long, and weigh between 5,000kg and 6,000kg each.
Killer whales are much feared as they are top on the list of predators in the marine ecosystem food chain, Mohd Tamimi Ali said. They feed on squid, turtles, sea birds, sharks and other marine mammals, including seals and dolphins.
The whale is a protected species, he said. Any sighting of the mammal should be reported to the state or district fisheries office.