- Blue whales are the largest animals ever known to have lived on Earth. These magnificent marine mammals rule the oceans at up to 100 feet long and upwards of 200 tons.
- According to IUCN, they are put under ENDANGERED species.
- During certain times of the year, a single adult blue whale consumes about 4 tons of krill (small shrimp like animals) a day.
- Blue whales live in all the world’s oceans, except the Arctic, occasionally swimming in small groups but usually alone or in pairs. They often spend summers feeding in polar waters and undertake lengthy migrations towards the Equator as winter arrives.
- They emit a series of pulses, groans, and moans, and it’s thought that, in good conditions, blue whales can hear each other up to 1,000 miles away.
- Aggressive hunting in the 1900s by whalers seeking whale oil drove them to the brink of extinction. Between 1900 and the mid-1960s, some 360,000 blue whales were slaughtered. They finally came under protection with the 1966 International Whaling Commission, but they’ve managed only a minor recovery since then.
- Blue whales have few predators but are known to fall victim to attacks by sharks and killer whales, and many are injured or die each year from impacts with large ships.
Why in the news?
- Scientists have discovered a population of blue whales in the North Western Indian Ocean through analysis of calling sound recordings from the region.
- Scientists say that there is an urgent need to learn more about this species and its behaviour as there is a huge threat to them by maritime industries.