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Saturday, February 9, 2013

Why Whale Poop is Very Expensive?

The color is yellowish gray and stinks. But the value of whale excrement could reach tens of thousands of dollars per kilogram. Whale feces was discovered by Ken Wilman while strolling with his dog, Madge on a secluded beach in Morecambe, England. Initially, Wilman thought it as a rock. "When I picked it up, I immediately put it back because it smells disgusting," Wilman said, as quoted by the BBC.
Ken Wilman, the luckiest man that have found 3 kg of ambergris on secluded beach in Morecambe, England. (Picture from: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/)
At home, Wilman find out about it from Google's site. The clumps that similar with the rock is probably the ambergris, which is derived from the digestive tract of sperm whales, and an element that is very expensive in luxury fragrances, such as Chanel No. 5. Realizing that stinky thing is worthy thing, Wilman right back to the beach and pick it up. One ambergris agent from France had offered the stone was worth U.S. $ 68 thousand, (or approximately Rp. 660 million). However, it is likely much higher value.

"These findings are very valuable," said Chris Hill, curator at the Aquarium of the Lakes in Cumbria, England. "There are few places in Europe that are interested in buying it. They will keep for years like wine and test it as a perfume. What value of the Ambregris?  It is determined by its freshness, but the possibility of U.S. $ 180 thousand (or approximately Rp. 1.7 billion)."

No one knows for sure how sperm whales produce that substance is, or how the animals produce the clumps. Many experts agree that whales produce ambergris in the gut as a type of fat to coat hard and pungent foods are difficult to digest, such as the giant squid beak. Part squid were hard indeed found in ambergris.
Sperm whale. (Picture from: http://www.fish-journal.com/)
But while some reports call ambergris "whale vomit," others insist it's not puke. "It's poop," said Christopher Kemp, molecular biologist from University of Chicago. Kemp, the author of "Floating Gold: the Natural (and Unnatural) History of Ambergris" (University Of Chicago Press, 2012), notes that the stuff commands a high price because "only one percent of the 350,000 sperm whales can actually make it," he told ABC News. "Because it's so rare, it's very valuable." *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | LIVESCIENCE | TJANDRA DEWI | KORAN TEMPO 4133]
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