Author Box
Articles Categories
All Categories
Articles Resources

Are Whales at Threat of Extinction?

June 04, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 145

It is common knowledge that rampant overfishing (whaling) in the 18th - 20th centuries nearly drove many whale species to extinction. While whaling certainly existed prior to this, technological improvements allowed the industry to become much more efficient in harvesting whales. Now that the global whaling industry has nearly disappeared, whale populations have been able to slowly recover. Conservation efforts and eco-tourism (centered around whale watching cruises or dolphin interaction tours) are working to fund recovery efforts, but is it too late?

The majority of the great whale species are still on the endangered species list. The United States Endangered Species Act (ESA) still lists the northern right, southern right, bowhead, fin, blue, sei, humpback, and sperm whales as endangered species. The population of the northern right is reported to be less than one thousand animals remaining. One big problem is that, even without a major impact from commercial whaling, many interactions between humans and whales mean further losses in the population.

Commercial fishing vessels pose a great danger to whales. While their target is not the whale itself, the cetacean can often become entangled in the fishing lines or nets that are in active use or have been discarded at sea. This is not a fatal condition immediately, but the entanglement can slow down the animal, impacting its ability to dive and surface or to feed. A whale that cannot surface cannot breathe, and drowns.

Another impact from ships is collision risk. When large ships such as cruise liners or tankers collide with a whale, there is no contest. Serious injury or death is a frequent result. Many areas that are common "interference zones" between whale traffic and human traffic have implemented slower speeds to avoid the collisions, but this is not a 100% solution. There is currently no way to ensure keeping distance between ships and whales in their natural habitat.

The effects of climate change on all aspects of our environment are still not fully understood. However, as ocean temperatures change, the food source for many cetaceous mamals (krill and plankton) will be impacted. It is possible that ongoing temperature increases will create food shortages for the whale population, driving further losses.

Chemical and noise pollution are other factors impacting whale population rebound. Chemicals such as heavy metals make their way into the food chain and can build up over time, slowly poisoning the animals. Noise pollution, primarily from ship traffic, could possibly interfere with the navigation, feeding, and communication of whales. Interrupting these activities can further damage the recovery of whale stocks worldwide.

Finally, commercial whaling is still a minor factor. While a global moratorium on whaling has been declared, there is no central body with any enforcement authority. Annual harvests are closely monitored, and global opinion is largely negative about the practice, but some nations insist that whale hunting is part of their heritage.

With reduced commercial whaling, funding from conservation groups and whale watching tours, populations worldwide have a chance at survival in general. It is unlikely that all species will have long-term success, but through the dedicated efforts of conservationists worldwide it is certain that our world won't lose all the whales.

Anyone interested in the plight of cetaceous mammals, wanting to know more about marine conservation, or finding whale watching trips should visit

Source: EzineArticles
Was this Helpful ?

Rate this Article

Article Tags:

Whale Watching Tours

For gaining entrance in coveted fields in a reputed University, the entrance examinations are the gateway. The purpose of these entrance examinations is to test the potential of a candidate and how

By: Sarkariexam l Reference & Education > Science l December 23, 2012 lViews: 519

Competition is increasing at an alarming level in every sphere. The students have to focus completely on their studies to ensure that they get admission in the line of their choice. What more, the

By: Sarkariexam l Reference & Education > Continuing Education l December 14, 2012 lViews: 1443

'How hard is a PhD'? Many PhD holders have been asked this question millions of times, but there is never any definite answer. We look at those who walk around proudly with a 'Doctor' title with

By: onlineedublog l Reference & Education > Continuing Education l November 11, 2012 lViews: 284

In this fast paced world which is sadly recession struck, it is indeed a good idea to work while acquiring further education. A master’s degree is obviously better than a bachelor’s in almost

By: onlineedublog l Reference & Education > Online Education l November 04, 2012 lViews: 262

An Online Degree Program in Finance is gaining popularity as it helps students to develop a lucrative career. It helps in a competitive business world. This has resulted in more number of students

By: Matthew l Reference & Education > Online Education l October 31, 2012 lViews: 287

Supporting justice is one of the reasons many people get into a career in the legal field. All-inclusive Online Associate’s Degree in Legal Studies assists many in the beginning stage of employment

By: Richard l Reference & Education > Online Education l October 26, 2012 lViews: 221

The Bluebird is among the most popular of all backyard bird watchers. Even non-bird watchers love to see them because of their beautiful blue feathers. However, not everyone is familiar with a lot of

By: Jackl Reference & Education > Wildlifel October 17, 2012 lViews: 194

Largest of the lizards that frequent the territory outside our house is a member of the Goanna family, named the Lace Monitor. A mature individual can reach a length of close to five feet from nose

By: Dorothy Gauvinl Reference & Education > Wildlifel July 04, 2012 lViews: 189

At our place, the Rainbow Skink is the most populous type. The local Kookaburras will snack on these small lizards but prefer a larger mouthful of gecko or tree snake. Last Sunday began with...

By: Dorothy Gauvinl Reference & Education > Wildlifel July 02, 2012 lViews: 206

Forest School Level 3 Training is designed to provide the necessary tools to individuals already working with young people in setting up and running Forest School programmes. Outdoor teachers

By: Cristopher Laguna Abanill Reference & Education > Wildlifel July 01, 2012 lViews: 176

Every Eden needs a serpent. My personal paradise in Tropical North Queensland is host to the eight most venomous land snakes on the planet. It also is the home of several species of Python, growing

By: Dorothy Gauvinl Reference & Education > Wildlifel June 28, 2012 lViews: 178

Of the more than forty snake species living in my corner of the world - Tropical North Queensland - eight have the dubious honour of being the most venomous on the planet. They include the fearsome

By: Dorothy Gauvinl Reference & Education > Wildlifel June 28, 2012 lViews: 210

South Africa is one of the world's favourite destinations for whale watching. Whether in the Cape Peninsula or at places like Mossel Bay, Knysna or Plettenberg Bay, they all offer the most incredible

By: Denise Beresfordl Reference & Education > Wildlifel May 09, 2012 lViews: 108

Conservation of all wildlife has become a universal priority. This is due primarily to the exploitation by the human race in serving their own diverse interests; from killing for self-indulgent

By: Denise Beresfordl Reference & Education > Wildlifel May 07, 2012 lViews: 113

Unfortunately, risks of litigation are growing steadily, with society now having a new love; prosecuting for the slightest problem. Charities are not immune to this despite their ethical standing.

By: Denise Beresfordl Insurance > Commerciall April 20, 2012 lViews: 162

Online press releases have now become a highly popular medium of promoting new products, services and even celebrities. The result has been a sudden influx of new writers eager to share in the

By: Denise Beresfordl Business > Press Releasesl April 15, 2012 lViews: 186

It is usual for insurers to design policies for specific applications and this is applicable for commercial minibus insurance. This is because the needs and requirements differing significantly

By: Denise Beresfordl Insurance > Commerciall April 09, 2012 lViews: 131

The Engine Control Module (ECM) is an integral part of the car. The ECM is in fact the brain of the car and is required to keep the car in good working order. This is why it's important to know how

By: Denise Beresfordl Automotive > Mobile Audio Videol March 30, 2012 lViews: 180

Discuss this Article

comments powered by Disqus