by Khadijah Rahim
The largest animal on Earth: the blue whale! Weighing in at 200 tons (approximately 33 elephants), with a call louder than a jet engine, and a heart the size of a Volkswagen; these majestic creatures have made it onto the list of endangered animals. With roughly 25,000 left in the world, the largest creatures on the planet are quickly meeting their end.
The blue whale’s main food source is krill. A single blue whale can consume up to 4 tons of krill a day! They often spend the summer feeding on krill and polar bears as they make their way to the equator before the harsh winter arrives. Living in every ocean except the Arctic, these giant animals swim alone or in pairs keeping a speed of about five miles an hour. Their calls are so loud blue whales can hear each other up to 100 miles away. A baby whale enters the world weighing 3 tons with a length of up to 25 feet. It gains about 200 pounds every day during its first year of life and will stretch to at least 85 feet! And aside from being the largest animals, the blue whale is among those that live the longest having life spans as long as 110 years.
So how is it possible for these powerful creatures to be endangered? Belligerent hunting in the 1900s almost drove these creatures to extinction. Between 1900 to 1960, an estimated 360,000 whales were killed. In 1966, they finally gained protection under the International Whaling Commission, but that only contributed to a minor recovery for the species. Blue whales are often struck by ships leading to deadly results. Surprisingly, these large creatures can even get entangled in fishing gear and suffer to their end. Moreover, climate change is also affecting these creatures. The change in climate has taken its toll on krill. Being the main food source for these giants, the less krill they eat means the weaker they are. Because of this, they are more susceptible to get caught in fishing gear or struck by a ship and have a hard recovery, or none at all.
But you can help the largest animal on Earth continue to thrive. Take Instant Action in 3 steps!
1.) Continue to inform yourself so you can pass on this information
2.) Speak up against whaling to help protect our whales
3.) Help curb climate change by pulling out those plugs that aren’t in use.*
*Did you know, all electronics suck energy when they’re plugged in, EVEN IF they’re powered down. Anytime a cord is plugged into a socket, it’s drawing energy — so although your device isn’t charging, you’re still contributing to your carbon footprint. Pulling the plug reduces energy consumption!
Most importantly, use your voice! Speak up – it can save a life; even one that’s 200 tons!
Source: “Blue Whale.” Animals, 9 June 2020, www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/b/blue-whale