Whales are one of the most renowned and majestic creatures in the entire ocean, and what many people don’t realize is that there are several parts on a whale’s body that are worth a ton of money to the right markets.
Recently, a spike has occurred in the black market trade of one highly valuable whale-derived substance used in the perfume industry that has animal rights activists concerned.
According to a new article published on Vice.com, whale poop is the latest hot commodity for some traders, and it recently led to the arrest of two suspects that have been caught with more than $1 million in contraband as part of a sting operation.
Whale Poop is a Widely Coveted Commodity
Also known as ambergris, whale poop is a rare and highly valuable commodity that has been globally coveted by the perfume industry for hundreds of years.
Recently, officials in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu seized eight kilograms of ambergris, commonly known as whale feces, worth more than $1 million, and arrested two suspects caught with the contraband in a sting operation, according to the Vice article.
“We’ve seen these stories where fishermen communities have found ambergris and it completely changed their fortunes overnight, simply because they are in countries where it’s legal to trade them,” said Sumanth Bindumadhav, Humane Society International senior manager of wildlife disaster response, to VICE World News.
Indian fishermen don’t have the right according to local laws, however as it is criminalized under the country’s wildlife protection laws.
Why is Whale Poop So Valuable?
When the waxy substance is expelled into the sea, it can become fragrant over time, making it a valuable ingredient in perfumes.
The substance can make up to $25 per gram when sold to cosmetic companies or other organizations that prioritize it.
These particular seizures have happened in India surprisingly often, with six reported cases in July alone.
Animal rights experts warn that sperm whale populations could be greatly harmed.
“While there used to be a time where people would incidentally find ambergris floating around in the ocean, what it could lead to is people killing sperm whales in large numbers and looking for [ambergris] simply because the probability of otherwise finding it is so minimal,” said Bindumadhav.
Conservationists believe that one way to stop the troubling trend is to drive down the value of this item, which could be ecologically destructive.
“The value of animal articles needs to be driven down extensively. There have to be alternatives for these products in 2021,” Bindumadhav said according to Vice.
People Are Getting Rich Of Whale Poop
Believe it or not, people are getting rich off of whale poop that floats onshore. Even just saying ‘whale poop that floats onshore’ sounds funny. It’s a true story. The man in New Zealand in the video below searches New Zealand shores for whale poop on his walks. The Ambergris is a waxy substance that is found inside of whale poo is used for medicines, potions, a spice and as a scent in perfumes.
Ambergris is formed when a sperm whale eats a squid. Tiny squid beaks are harder than most metals and cannot be digested. They are coated in a wax-like substance to protect the whales stomach from getting cut up. The whale then poops that out, it is carried away by ocean currents and bakes in the sun until eventually it washes up on a beach and it looks like dog poop. If you’re one of those people that know what to look for and smell for, you’re one of the lucky ones.
Ambergris isn’t a new fat. Moby Dick had a whole chapter on it. It’s been in perfumes, and some people smoke it. It is used mainly by luxury perfume makers. The scarcity drives the price up even more. It goes for $10 to $20 per gram. A Kilogram is worth $10,000.
Many people find $1,000 or $2,000 worth of Ambergris lying on the beach in New Zealand. The most that was found at one time? One man found a piece of Ambergris worth $300,000! Imagine that! What a poopy payday!
What Does Ambergris in Whale Poop Look & Smell Like?
Ambergris hardens and turns into a rock like ball that happens to have a strange waxy inside look to it. It can come in both lighter and darker shades, so pay attention more to the inside of it and the smell of it. It will have a waxy inside and a musky smell on the outside. Here are a few pictures of the Ambergris, so keep your eyes peeled next time you’re on the beach.
is Ambergris is Illegal To Gather in Some Countries?
It is legal to gather Ambergris in most countries, however, it is illegal in Australia. Most countries in the world it is legal to gather and sell it however.