Nothing is more awe inspiring than watching a massive, giant whale breaching the surface of the ocean and jump off into the open waters. There are so many varieties of whales that are endangered because of overfishing and environmental pollution. The world is at risk of losing many beautiful species of whales including the smallest baleen whale, the smallest sperm whale, and the largest bowhead whale. Many marine conservation programs and individuals are working around the clock to save these magnificent animals. The Endangered Species Act is used to help identify and list the whales that are in danger and need assistance to survive.
The first step to helping whales is identifying the species. The problem is that whales are so diverse that it can be difficult to determine exactly which type they are. A quick look at the scientific name of the species can give an indication but, in general, each of the whales has been named at least three or four different times and there can be considerable variation in the average lifespan and age of the individual. In order to determine the exact species you have to research it even more, sometimes to the point of having a whole species’ specimens studied in laboratories.
After you have identified the whales you are looking for, you have to know where to find them. It used to be that whales were only found in the cold northern oceans during the summer months. However, this has all changed with the rise of global warming. Now, whales and their prey can be found in all the warm regions of the ocean during the winter months when the ice caps are melting. If you are in the Arctic region during these times, you will likely come across a number of dead whales floating along the ice that were exposed to the warm ocean water.
One of the great whales that are now endangered is the Orca whales which can be seen off the coasts of Baja California Mexico, in the Gulf of Mexico, in the central Pacific and right off the coast of Los Angeles. A number of marine scientists believe that the numbers of Orca whales have decreased by as much as 50 percent since the beginning of the twenty first century. Some believe that the decline could be caused by increased fishing pressure caused by increasing numbers of illegal,unbridled fishing nets along coastal lines. Others believe that the decrease is due to the growth of hybrid orca whales that are being born with some of the characteristics of a female orca but not having the natural instincts of a male orca.
Another one of the great whales that are now Endangered is the Southern Right Whale which can be seen off the coasts of Nova Scotia, Canada. The average lifespan of this whale species is around fifteen years. They can live up to forty years if they have plenty of space. If their habitat is reduced to just ten square miles, they can live up to thirty years. There are some conservation groups who work to protect these beautiful animals so their average lifespan can be extended.
There are two types of whales that are currently Endangered and that have declined in numbers, these are the Right whales and the Southern Right whales. In order for either of these species to have a chance at recovery, steps need to be taken immediately to halt commercial whaling activities. These amazing creatures are known as minke whales and they are the smallest of all whales. Whales are important marine ecosystem invertebrates and play a critical role in the food chain by controlling fish populations and regulating the levels of oxygen in water.