Whale Species Found in the Antarctic Ocean

July 4, 2013 12:00 am

If you talk to almost anyone about any subject there are pros and cons to it. And so it is with whaling and whale protection. To that end we’ve provided the following list of commonly asked questions as provided by the International Whale Protection Organization to help build knowledge toward any decision making process you may undertake. Don’t people need to hunt whales for food? There are certain groups of people who do, in fact, rely on whales for local nutritional subsistence such as the people of Lamalera (Indonesia) or certain Inuit communities in remote parts of the Arctic. However, whale meat is not necessary for food security in any of the nations that kill whales on an industrial scale (Iceland, Norway and Japan). Only a tiny fraction of the populations of these developed nations consumes whale on a regular basis. Much of the meat is stockpiled in cold storage or ground up into fertilizer and animal feed. The rest is sold as a luxury item in markets and restaurants. Don’t whalers need to work? In Iceland, Norway, and Japan whaling does not make up a significant part of the national economy. In fact, the whaling industries of these nations are propped up with government support including subsidies. While it is arguable that a number of small communities do depend on income from whaling, the undeniable reality is the demand for whale meat continues to decline while the business of whale tourism continues to grow. The whales are worth more alive than dead. Investment in the lucrative whale watching industry is an investment in the future success of men and whales. What makes whales any different than cows? The most common comparisons between farm livestock and whales are also the most flawed. Whales are wild animals and are not raised under controlled conditions for the human food supply. With many growing threats and slow reproductive rates, there is no guarantee that any species of whale will survive from one year to the next. There is also no quality control or safety oversight for whales as opposed to livestock. Toxic chemicals and metals such as mercury, chromium, PCBs and more accumulate in the body tissues of whales making some species extremely unsafe for human consumption. Unlike cattle, there is no way to observe whales for diseases (like a cetacean variant of mad cow disease) that could harm human beings. How is whaling inhumane? The methods for killing whales cause a great deal of suffering prior to death. A large cannon fired harpoon tipped with an explosive penthrite grenade is most often used by industrial whaling fleets. In many cases there is not an “instant kill” including strikes that do not result in a catch. Whales have been filmed struggling with gaping wounds from these harpoons from 15 minutes to an hour despite efforts by whalers to finish the animals off with high powered rifles. In some cases a second harpoon is utilized. In others, the whale is dragged backwards by its tail until it drowns. In documented drive hunts, entire pods of dolphins or pilot whales are corralled in shallow water and then collectively stabbed to death by hand. Some of the animals are left to bleed out after being hauled ashore or drown in a mixture of their own blood and sea water. Is whaling illegal? The legality of whaling is unfortunately a gray area of international law. The International Whaling Commission established a global moratorium on all commercial whaling in 1986 which remains in effect to this day. CITES (Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species) also forbids the international trade of whale products. The IWC has established whale sanctuaries where the killing of whales is not permitted such as the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary which covers all Antarctic waters. However, Direct TV, due to the non-binding nature of international agreements, the industrial whaling nations have simply “opted out” of established regulations and continued to kill whales, including endangered species, and trade in whale products. How are whales important to the environment? Whales contribute to the health of ocean ecosystems in important ways. In any ecosystem, all creatures are inherently connected and interdependent with other animals in the food web. The great whales help to fertilize the oceans by distributing iron in their offal, which is important to algae and phytoplankton growth. When a large whale dies it becomes a bounty to all of the scavengers of the ocean from sea birds and sharks to hag fish, worms and bacteria. Recent observations revealed that a single whale carcass at the ocean floor will support an abundance of scavenger species for over a year. Is whaling a cultural tradition? History shows that whaling has been carried out by many peoples from ancient to modern times. Excepting the native communities permitted to hunt whales for nutritional subsistence, today whaling exists only as an industry for the profit of a select few. Iceland’s whaling past is entirely dominated by foreign companies depleting whale stocks for oil profits prior to the 1950s. Japan’s traditional whalers were put out of business when Norwegian modern whaling techniques were adopted at the start of the 20th century.

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Whale Species Found in the Arctic Ocean

May 20, 2013 12:00 am

One of the most remote areas of the world, the Arctic Ocean is home to several species of whales. While not all of these whale species stay in the Arctic Ocean year round; some migrate to other places, the following whales can be found in the Arctic Ocean for at least some period of time.

Bowhead whale: This slow swimming, plankton eating whale’s desired habitat is in subarctic and arctic shelves. Known for having the longest baleen of all whales, … More

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Vocal Behavior of the Killer Whale

March 23, 2013 12:00 am

Killer whales use a variety of vocal sounds to hunt, communicate, and orient themselves within their environment. They can produce a number of different sounds, including clicks, whistles and pulsed calls. These sounds are used for a number of daily life activities; for example, clicks appear to be used mainly for navigation and hunting, but are also commonly used to communicate to fellow family members.

Members of a family pod, or resident whales, share a particular … More

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Endangered Whale Species and How They Became Endangered

June 20, 2012 12:00 am

There are seven species of whales currently on the endangered list. This represents over half of the great whale species that share the planet. The blue whale, the humpbacked whale, and the sperm whale are well known members of the endangered species list. The baiji whale is a species of toothed whale that lives in the Yangtze River in China. It is currently the most endangered species of whale, with only 300 of the whales remaining.
The reasons for the severe depletion of the whale population are numerous, but many causes can be tied directly to human behavior. At one point, … More

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Blue Whales and What Makes This Species Unique

October 16, 2011 12:00 am

One thing that makes the blue whale unique is the fact that it is the largest animal that ever lived on the earth. They can be up to 94 feet long. They have a blue gray skin with small white gray spots. They can weigh about 120 tons. More than often, the female blue whales weigh more than the males. Another amazing thing about the blue whale is the size and weight of their hearts. A blue whale heart can weigh about 1,000 pounds.Didn-t catch that? This explains it.

The sounds that the blue whales makes are very loud. They are considered … More

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Baleen Whales and What Makes This Species Unique

October 4, 2011 12:00 am

Imagine weighing 145 tons and eating enough to maintain your size, while having no teeth. The baleen species of whales contain some of the most enormous animals on earth, yet they have no teeth. This is the primary difference that sets baleen apart from toothed whales.

Instead of teeth, they have baleen plates comprised of keratin. This is the same substance that human nails and hair are made of. Baleen consists of hundreds of long, rough bristles that hang from … More

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Beluga Whales and What Makes This Species Unique

September 21, 2011 12:00 am

Beluga whales, one of the smallest species of whales, are known as “White Whales’ because of their unique color. Unlike most whales, beluga whales can actually turn their heads in all directions because of their flexible necks.

Belugas are social mammals, living together in pods, and communicate with their social groups with a complex language filled with clicks and whistles. In addition to the usual beluga whale language, these graceful animals can also mimic a variety of other sounds, prompting the small whales to … More

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Whales on TV

August 17, 2011 12:00 am

If you can-t afford to making on a whale-watching tour this year consider yourself lucky ” the weather-s too cold for much good spotting anywhere near the US. If you-re itching to see your mammalian friends in action tune into your DIRECT TV Choice Extra packages to catch some of our favorite whale classics
Whale Wars: Who hasn-t heard of Whale Wars yet? Discovery-s high-stakes thriller follows whale protection agencies as they fight the good fight against poachers. It-s high octane and there-s always a reason to laugh, cry and get mad.
Blue Whale Odyssey: National Geographic Channel often reruns this whale classic in which camera crews follow a herd of blue whales from the Pacific all the way to colder waters. It-s a fascinating look inside the life of a wild whale and as always, National Geographic does it right.
Free Willy: Who can resist? This children-s classic still has a heart as anyone who loves whales can attest and it-s good viewing for the whole family. It-s also one of Elijah Wood-s first films so you-re bound to get a kick out of how young he looks.

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Killer Whales, Commonly Known as the Orca

May 1, 2011 12:00 am

The name Killer Whale is pretty menacing, but the animal really is not—at least when it comes to human beings. Killer whales, also known as orcas, eat fish and marine mammals, just like sharks or many other species of whale. Though orcas kill a lot of animals to survive, it shouldn’t be a surprise—after all, an average-sized orca needs 550 pounds of food per day. Though there have been instances of trainers being harmed by killer whales in captivity, there is no recorded instance of a killer … More

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Gray Whales and What Makes This Species Unique

April 17, 2011 12:00 am

The gray whale gets it’s name from their dark gray skin and white and grey patches on their skin from scars made by parasites feeding on them. The gray whale’s main source of food is benthic crustaceans found on the ocean floor. The largest part of their population is located in the Eastern Pacific. They can grow to over fifty-two feet and weigh more than thirty-six tonnes. Mother gray whales, or cows, carry their newborns for about one year. The newborn comes out tail … More

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