Blue whales are the largest animals on earth which weighs 200 tons that is equal to 33 elephants. They are heavier than the dinosaurs and can fit in a big basketball court. Their heart size is that of a Volkswagen Beetle.
• They can grow to a length of 100 feet but 60 to 80 feet is more common.
• They live on a thing called krill. They eat four tons of krill each day and can store one ton in their stomach.
• They cannot breathe under water as they are mammals and have to leap out of water in order to breathe.
• They live in both cold and warm water depending upon the weather.
• They are the loudest species on earth and their call have 180 decibels.
Even their low frequency can be heard for hundreds of miles and they use it to attract other blue whales !
Whaling and Endangerment
Killing or hunting whales is called whaling. They were hard to catch at first but then hunters developed advanced tools and started hunting whales for various purposes.
In the past, blue whales were round about 150,000 to 200,000 whereas today there are 1500 to 2000 blue whales in the entire world. Can you imagine? They are largely endangered. They were marked as endangered species in 1970. And whaling is now illegal.
Reasons for their endangerment, Why are Blue Whales endangered?
In the late 1800’s, whaling industry did exist and whaling became a trend in the whole world. But during the 17th to 20th centuries, the technology became advanced and the hunting tools evolved as well which increased the death rate of whales to a great extent. This is the major reason of the endangerment of the blue whales today. But after mid 1900’s, whaling got banned strictly.
They killed whales because they were used in a variety of things such as their oil and meat was used in industries to make different products i.e.
• Margarine, whale meat and cooking oil was made by them.
• Oil was used to make soap, lamp oil, cosmetics and candles. It was also used in cars and trains.
• Corsets and umbrellas were made by using their skin.
• Tools were made such as fishing hooks.
Hunting for oil was the most common reason as it was used in different products. It led to industrial revolution and the competition even in the international market increased which led to more demand of whale oil and hence there was more whaling.
The remaining whales are endangered due to reasons such as :
• Climate change and how it effects their only food i.e. krill. Whales live on krill and climate change effects the temperature of the ocean which in turn effects krill.
• Environmental change like toxics and habitat loss.
• People still hunt whales for food and sell their meat at premium price.
• They can be harmed by ship strikes including cargo ships, tankers and cruise ships. It is advised in some areas to slow down where the whales are present.
• They can get entangled in fishing gear set for other fishes. They can slow the whales down and weaken them. They can also starve to death because they cannot eat.
Other reasons include noise pollution, ingestion of marine debris.
Blue whales are important for marine environment. They are largely endangered but thanks to the ban on whaling, the condition of the current whales is improving. We as humans should look at our own actions and try to avoid pollution, throwing wastes in the ocean and other such activities and play our role in saving the endangered