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Pilot Whale

The pilot whale is either of two species of cetacean: their genus is part of the oceanic dolphin family although their behaviour is closer to that of the larger whales. Pilot Whales are jet black or a very dark grey color. The dorsal fin is set forward on the back and sweeps back. The body is elongated but stocky and narrows abruptly toward the tail fin. Pilot whales live in groups of about 10 to 30 on average but some groups may be 100 or more. They are quite active and will frequently lobtail, spyhop and approach boats. They are extremely intelligent and curious creatures.

Pilot Whales feed predominantly on squid. As compared to their other tooth-whale relatives they have many fewer teeth; numbering only 30 to 40 as compared to 120 in the bottlenosed dolphin. This is thought to be an adaptation to their squid eating diet.

The Long-finned Pilot Whale has traditionally been hunted by whalers by the process of "driving" - where many fishermen and boats gather in a semicircle behind a pod of whales, that has been sighted close to shore, and slowly drive them towards a bay. When close enough stones attached to lines from the boats are thrown into the water behind the whales, driving them towards the beach where they become stranded and are slaughtered. This practice was common in both the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Currently only the Faroe Islands operates such a cull. It is both an inhumane and barbaric massacre as depicted in these photos. Beware, the
photos are extremely brutal.

The Short-finned Pilot Whale has also been hunted for many centuries, particularly by Japanese whalers. In the mid-1980s the annual Japanese kill was about 2,300 animals. This had decreased to about 400 per year by the 1990s. Killing by harpoon is still relatively common in the Lesser Antilles and Sri Lanka. Due to poor record-keeping it is not known how many kills are made each year, and what effect this has on the local population.

Both species are also collaterally caught and killed in longline and gill-nets each year.

To learn how to fold Joseph Wu's pilot whale, watch the video below. Please be patient and let it load. The pdf diagram of the pilot whale can be
downloaded here.
pilot whales in the Sea of Cortez
Mother and baby short-finned pilot whales

Joseph Wu's pilot whaleJoseph Wu's origami pilot whale
Joseph Wu is a master origami artist from Vancouver, Canada who makes his living entirely from commercial contracts for his origami work. Joseph is the founder of PALM, the Vancouver origami group and is constant feature on Canadian broadcast media.

Joseph also is the author of the most popular origami website in the world with tens of thousands of unique visits each month.