Whales, mammalian rulers of the oceans are in deep trouble.
Whales are animals that excite the attention of naturalists because these marine creatures are classified as mammals and not fish. Indeed, these animals are actually aquatic mammals. They breathe air with the help of their lungs since they do not have gills. In addition, they give birth to their young instead of laying eggs and they also suckle and look after their young. They are warm blooded creatures and have four-chambered hearts just like other mammals. However, they are incapable of living on land and therefore spend their entire life in the oceans. Their bodies are perfectly adapted for life in the water.
Scientists believe that these large and gentle cetaceans are extremely intelligent since they have been discovered to communicate with each other. Studies of underwater sound recordings have picked up all sorts of whistles and moans that these graceful animals use to communicate with each other over thousands of miles of wide open ocean. They live in groups called pods that are generally very stable.
The past century has not been kind to these giants of the oceans. Many species of whales have been hunted almost to extinction. Some cultures such as the Inuit have depended on whales for their sustenance and they have great respect for these animals even though they hunt them regularly. They do not hunt them in very large numbers. The species of whale that the Inuit hunt is generally the Narwhal.
However, many other people have gone after these animals in great numbers because of commercial reasons. The numbers of sperm whales were greatly depleted because they were hunted for a substance called ambergris that was needed for the perfume and medical industry. Other species are killed for the oil that could be obtained by boiling down their blubber and also for their flesh. Shipping fleets from Europe and the United States brought many species of whales close to extinction. The biggest demand for whale meat these days is from Japan where it is considered a great delicacy.
Scientists also believe that human beings are confusing whales because of the many radio signals and noises created by ships, submarines and the like. These audio signals interfere with the whales’ ability to communicate with each other and this sometimes causes them to lose their bearings. This interferes with their annual migration and affects their ability to get the necessary nutrition because they need to travel to the right feeding grounds. These underwater sonic disturbances also affect their ability to find mates.
Ironically a whale is a term used in live and online gambling to represent the largest players in a casino. One whale could be worth as much as thousands of regular players in a brick and mortar or online casino, and for operators of such establishments this is the holy grail so to speak.
It would be a great tragedy if these majestic creatures were hunted out of existence because of man’s short sighted policies and immense greed. Thankfully, many countries that were formerly involved in hunting whales have taken an undertaking to help protect them. It remains to be seen whether it is still possible to bring many species of whales back from the brink of extinction. Many scientists believe that efforts at conservation might be too late for certain species of these majestic mammals of the deep.