Facts for Prelims


News: A pathologist has recently discovered Ambergris in a dead whale, which could be worth nearly Rs 4 crore.

What is Ambergris?
• Ambergris is a solid, waxy, flammable substance of a dull grey or blackish colour produced in the digestive system of sperm whales. It is sometimes found floating on the sea or washed up on coastlines.
• It is rare and highly valued by perfume makers as a fixative that allows the scent to endure much longer. Ambergris has a marine, fecal odor when fresh, but it acquires a sweet, earthy scent as it ages.

Is its trade regulated?
• It is seen that there is a ban on the possession and trade of ambergris in countries like the USA, Australia and India. But in several other countries, it is still a tradable commodity.
• In the Indian context, sperm whales are a protected species under Schedule 2 of the Wildlife Protection Act therefore possession or trade of its by-products, including Ambergris and its byproducts, is illegal under provisions of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.

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