More and more species are joining the lists of animals at risk of disappearing, as well as those joining the lists of extinct animals . This is the case of the blue whale or fin whale , which for years has been on the verge of extinction. According to The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species , which is the international body that records the status of the different animal and plant species, as you can see in the link, the Balaenoptera musculus species is in a situation of Endangered or in danger of extinction.
If you want to know more about why the blue whale is in danger of extinction and what we can do to help this marine species to recover, do not hesitate to continue reading AgroCorrn because we will tell you everything below.
- Characteristics of the blue whale
- Why is the blue whale endangered – causes
- How we can help the blue whale so that it does not become extinct
Characteristics of the blue whale
To begin, before explaining why blue whales are in danger of extinction or in the Endangered state , we will explain a little about the main characteristics of the blue or blue whale so that in this way you can get to know it much better.
There are various species of cetaceans, specifically about 80 species of cetaceans that include dolphins, whales and porpoises, such as the fin whale or Balaenoptera , the gray whale or Eschrichtius robustus , the right whale or Eubalaena and the blue whale or Balaenoptera musculus .
Among the characteristics of the blue whale, the first thing that stands out is its size, since it is currently the largest animal on the planet , not only in the oceans but on the entire Earth. The size of this cetacean is immense, as it can measure more than 30 meters and weigh 200 tons. To give us an idea of the size in a simple way, if we think of African elephants, the size of a blue whale is equivalent to more than 30 elephants.
Being marine mammals , although they live in water they breathe oxygen from the air, so they have lungs and a blowhole or breathing hole in their head that allows them to take the air from the surface, without the need to protrude much, and they do not have gills. like fish do not breathe in water. They are able to last several hours at a time underwater , even going down to the depths for hours.
They feed mainly on plankton and have a vital role in the food chain and in the balance of the marine ecosystem . They live in the seas and oceans of the world , in fact they swim a great many kilometers a day. They inhabit different areas of oceanic waters depending on the time of year, being able to withstand even icy waters like those of the Arctic, as they have a thick layer of fat that protects them from these temperatures. Specifically, they are usually in places such as the waters of Norway, Canada, Greenland, Russia, Spain, southern Chile, the Gulf of California and in the Coral Triangle, which is between Southeast Asia and Oceania.
If you want to know more about these animals, we recommend this other AgroCorrn article about Where the whale lives and what it eats .
Now that we have discussed some of its most important characteristics, we will now talk about the reasons why the blue whale is in danger of extinction , since it seems that the fact of having an immense size and that they have a lot of stories and mythology to their around is not enough for them to be safe.
Why is the blue whale endangered – causes
According to the WWF (World Wildlife Fund), the main causes that the blue whale is in danger of extinction are the following:
Hunt for sale
Hunting for the commercialization of products obtained from whales, such as meat and blubber or oil, is one of the reasons why the blue whale is in danger of extinction. This practice, which to the majority of the world population, already seems old and unnecessary, continues to be carried out, even after the passing of laws such as the one of 1986, which approved the prohibition of the hunting and commercialization of whales. Some of the countries that continue to practice it by tradition and trade are Japan, Iceland and Norway.
Captures by accident
Although it may seem strange, this is one of the most serious causes, as it is one of the most exemplary causes to disappear. Thousands of whales are caught by accident each year during large-net industrial fish fisheries.
Due to the large number of ships in the ocean, most of them large, blue whales or blue whales and other cetaceans of different sizes collide with these vessels, both from space and from being disoriented due to sonar and pollution. that affects these animals. These accidents cause both traumatic injuries of different kinds, the most serious being fatal although they take a certain time, and death directly.
Also, this is a growing threat because more and more ships are active. Some of the solutions proposed are to prevent sea lanes from crossing through areas of frequent whale habitat and to reduce speed when passing near or through them, when crossing them cannot be avoided.
Climate change, through global warming, is assuming one of the serious reasons that affect the largest cetaceans. The increase in water temperature causes food to become scarce in the Arctic and Antarctic regions, both plankton and krill among others. This means that in order to find food they have to migrate further, which they do with weakness which increases the longer they take to find food and sometimes they die from it. In addition, this rise in temperatures also affects their reproductive cycle.
Whale stranding and deaths from pollution
The marine pollution is increasingly serious, there are both toxic substances such as plastics agglomerations occupying several km2 and excess sounds. This pollution causes the whales to mistakenly feed on plastics and die, in fact, corpses have been found that, when performing a necropsy, have revealed huge amounts of plastics in the stomachs of the whales. They are also disoriented due to the excess noise that humans produce in the oceans, both by ship engines and with sonars, which confuses them and leads them to strand on beaches and die. They also die intoxicated by products such as ship fuels, oil spills, heavy metals, and so on.
The great impact of industries
All types of industry that develop in the seas and oceans, or from which their waste ends up in them, are a serious danger to blue whales and other cetaceans. Ports, transportation channels, landfills, oil companies, fish farms, maritime tourism agencies, industrial fishing, etc., are all dangerous industries for these beings. The reasons are that they destroy their habitat, limit their space, reduce the availability of their food, poison them, damage their ears and sense of orientation, reduce their reproductive capacity, and so on.
How we can help the blue whale so that it does not become extinct
There are already various laws that protect these animals, as well as many projects, organizations, associations, etc., but it is not proving to be enough because these entities are stopped and the laws are ignored in many parts of the planet. So how can we help blue whales recover and not go extinct ? These are some suggestions that we give you from AgroCorrn, but if you can think of more, do not hesitate to share them in the comments.
- Reduce, reuse and recycle, that is, make the most of the 3Rs of ecology . In this way, you will help the environment and the recovery of the blue whale habitat, the oceans, and so on. At home, the most important thing you can do is reduce the use of plastics and properly recycle those that are used, as well as reduce CO2 emissions as much as possible.
- If you go to the beach or go for a walk or take a boat trip, don’t leave any waste. If you produce waste, do not leave it in the sand or in the water, take it away and throw it in the recycling bins.
- Avoid tourist activities that involve approaching these animals in a disrespectful way towards them and the environment. If you wish, use only responsible tourism agencies, with which you go to an area where blue whales can pass and you can see them but only if they approach and leave when they want, not chasing and stressing them.
- Sign up for some activist volunteerism or financially collaborate with associations and organizations that promote and take actions for the conservation of whales, fight against their hunting and that, in general, seek to care for the oceans and the environment. An example of these actions are the creations of cetacean sanctuaries.
- If you have seen someone violate the protection laws of areas where blue whales usually live, including their coasts, inform them that they are doing it wrong because they may not know the laws and the problem that what they do. If they don’t stop, then call the police or relevant authorities in the area.
- Lobby and influence governments to improve laws and actions to conserve blue whales
- Find out as much as possible about the evolution of the state of whales or blue fin whales, the problems in their environment, the activities carried out to help them and everything related to them. Afterwards, it helps to create social awareness, that is, to make others aware of the problem and explain the importance of keeping these animals alive. In addition, it helps children to understand it, it is vital that the little ones learn early to respect the whales as well as the entire planet.
If you want to read more articles similar to Why the blue whale is in danger of extinction , we recommend that you enter our category of Endangered Animals .