The 2017 Pilot Whale 2 Coin

Wednesday, 9 November 2016  |  Gareth

Pilot whales are large, robust animals with a bulbous head and no noticeable beak. They belong to the dolphin household, and are second only to the killer whale in size.

These smart marine mammals form incredibly cohesive social bonds; stranding of a number of hundred pilot whales are not uncommon, and pod members will typically stick close together and protect the matriarch of the group.

The pilot whale got its name due to a belief that the pod always follows a single leader, which although not proven, is commonly believed to be the factor for the tragic mass strandings.

The pilot whale can dive as deep as 500 meters when hunting for food, and has a diet consisting primarily of squid, in addition to fish, octopus and shellfishes such as shrimp.

Figures for pilot whales are unidentified, and even though they are diminished in some locations, pilot whales are ruled out to be endangered. There are likely to be a million long-finned pilot whales and a minimum of 200,000 short-finned pilot whales worldwide.

The image on the coin reveals a Pilot Whale in the foreground in the Antarctic waters with the head of a 2nd whale appearing above the water. The top of a third whale can be seen just above the waterline in the background. The obverse of each coin includes the brand-new effigy design of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II specifically by Pobjoy Mint.

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