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Why is possession of ambergris illegal?


  1. Why is possession of ambergris illegal?
  2. What does ambergris look like on the inside?
  3. How is ambergris collected?

Why is possession of ambergris illegal?

It is illegal to use ambergris in the U.S. because the sperm whale is protected, however, it is used often in foreign markets. The substance is also contraband in India.

What does ambergris look like on the inside?

Inside, ambergris is often brown or grey in colour although it can range from jet black, brown to light or dark grey and more rarely off white or cream. Well cured pieces may be as hard as rock or similar to dry clay with a dense interior texture (like fine compacted sand).

How is ambergris collected?

Sperm whales eject an intestinal slurry called ambergris into the ocean, where the substance hardens as it bobs along. Eventually it gets collected along shores—most often as sheer happenstance, as in the case of eight-year-old Charlie Naysmith in the U.K. a few days ago.



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