Ambergris, also known as Whale vomit, is one of the most expensive and strangest natural occurrences. It is a solid, waxy, and flammable substance, which is produced by sperm whales.
The reason why Ambergris is so expensive is that it is utilized by perfume makers to make perfumes, which allows the scent to stay much longer. Ambergris means ‘ambre gris’ or ‘grey amber’ which is derived from old French.
In India, under the Wildlife Protection Act. 1970, the sale of Ambergris is prohibited because it is extracted from sperm whales and they are an endangered species. Ambergris is found in the Atlantic Ocean and in various shapes and sizes.
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It is believed that sperm whales eat large cephalopods such as squid. Some indigestible elements like the beak and pens get vomited out but in some cases, the parts move into the whale’s intestine and bind together. They slowly become the solid parts of Ambergis, which grow inside the whale for years.
Ambergris was not only used for making perfumes but is also believed that early Arab civilization named it as ‘anbar’ and use it for medical purposes to cure an ailment, including brain and heart.
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Earlier this month a crime branch from Mumbai, Maharashtra arrested three people who were trying to sell Ambergis worth Rs 2.7 crores. The case was registered against them under the Wildlife Protection Act. The marine biologist gave the confirmation that the sample seized was Ambergris or whale vomit.