Plastic waste is killing Endangered Whales
Whales don’t have natural predators. However, Whales population is on rapid decline. I know the majority of you are upset by this truth, even more, that we are the main reason why they are caught in such an unfortunate situation.
There are numerous factors why several species of whale are being endangered today. This includes pollution, commercial whaling, overfishing, construction of bridges and dam, among others. Analyzing these factors will make us realize that we, humans, are the main reason why the future of these creatures is slowly being gone.
Rise of Plastic threat to Whale's habitat
From hunting them to ruining their home, we people are gradually killing these whales without even knowing it. Plastic waste is a becoming the biggest cause of Whale's dead. As proof, on March 19, 2019, there is a dead whale found in Compostela Valley, Philippines having 40 kilograms of massive plastic bags and trash as well as rice sacks on its stomach.
According to the report, the whale died due to the poison it caught from the enormous amount of plastic materials it swallowed. The poison makes it suddenly abstain from eating. As a result, the whale starved to death, dying with a stomach full of trash.
The same thing happened in February 2018 when a dead sperm whale landed dead on the shore. This happened after accumulating up to 64 pounds of debris of plastic. The residents of the Murcian coast found in southern Spain was shocked and disturbed when they witnessed this incident. What the experts found inside the whale’s stomach are nets, plastic sacks, a plastic jerrycan, and a lot of plastic bags.
News about Whale dying from swallowing plastic are spreading in every continent. As recent as April 2, 2019, a dead Whale is found with 48 pounds of plastic in Italy.
Moreover, this issue only emphasizes that the blame is ours due to our irresponsible waste management and the enormous amount of plastic we utilize day by day. This incident caught the attention of not only the governments but also non-profits organizations that drives them to start a noble campaign. There are many large non-profits organizations like Save The Whales, Green Peace, Whale and Dolphin conversation, and WWF , that are taking immediate action to protect the remaining Whales population.
Numerous campaigns are launched to battle against plastic waste by strictly forbidding anyone from depositing any form of plastic near or into the water of the coastal town. With this, people on the coast are raising awareness that every plastic we dump will reflect not only to us but also on other creatures living on the earth.
Whether it is in the land or the water, irresponsible waste management can gradually create a deadly poison. So right now, we have to open up our eyes with this alarming wake-up call. Besides, when nature speaks you have to definitely listen otherwise, you won’t really love how its comeback goes.
Why Are Whales Endangered?
Apparently, there is a wide array of reasons why whales are now endangered. More so, most of these are a result of our activities.
In the last few years, there is a large group of whale species that are hunted by man, making these creatures arrive in near extinction. Fishing Vessels deploys sturdy fishing ropes that are a deadly threat to their lives. Yes, man’s industrial whaling is one of the reasons why these whales are now on the verge of being forever gone. This is the sad truth.
Man’s work also made their home noisier than ever before. The consistent seismic tests and construction near waters produce unnatural noise that can kill them. Meanwhile, pollution and destruction also stem in such kinds of activities. And sewage, oil, litter, plastics, and chemicals, are also mindlessly disposed of in the sea that can lead to water pollution.
Disregarding the fact that some of the whale species are rehabilitated and protected by law. Their slow recovery and production are not enough to cope up with the number of their dying population. In particular, whales are only allowed to reproduce from the age of 7 to 10. At this age, the male ones are matured enough to mate with the females that have to be between the age of 5 to 7 years to conceive.
Generally, female whales can only have a baby every 2 to 3 long years. More so, during the mating season, females mostly have multiple partners that allow them to gain a great chance to become pregnant. However, the rate of their production makes it hard for them to increase in number. Therefore, subjecting them to near distinction.
The Status of the Endangered Whale Species
While several whale species are facing a great population decline, there are also some that are found slowly recovering and stable. Up to this date, there are 7 types of whale species that are vulnerable and endangered due to the ways of man. What we got here are some of the whale species that are included on the list:
In terms of being endangered, the status of Humpback Whale up to this date is classified as least concern. Humpback whale or Eschrichtius Robustus are showing signs of recovery with its increasing number. This whale species has a lifespan of only 45 to 50 years.
With a total mass reaching 30, 000 kilograms, it can also grow up to 13 meters which are nearly 2/3 as long as a bowling lane. Can you imagine that? Humpback whales also have a nearly black body due to its dark color and the most interesting thing about their look are their white tail fluke and underside.
Aside from that, they are called “humpback” given that they create a curved back every time they dive. These whale species is largely distributed on all sides of the globe.
Scientifically called Eschrichtius Robustus, gray whales stand as the least concern in terms of its status. It has an average lifespan of between 55 to 70 years possibly reaching at most 14.9 meters length on its lifetime. Regarding its mass, a fully grown gray whale can weigh up to 36,000 kilograms. These whales are popularly known for being predictable.
More so, the best thing about these whale species is that they are friendly to both human and boats. Because of this, whale watchers love to observe them. Having nearly 300 baleen plates, the gray whales are capable of filtering their own food. But unfortunately, these filters are not enough to save them from being poisoned in the polluted waters.
While the two first whale species above are classified as the least concern among all the endangered whales today. The Beluga whale is deemed to be near threatened. This fact is according to the IUCN Red List of endangered species.
Beluga whales scientifically called as Delphinapterus Leucas can only live up to 70 years and grow up until 5.5 meters. It can also reach a mass of 1, 600 kilograms and particularly known to have an incredibly high-pitched voice.
For this characteristic, the Beluga whales are also called Sea Canaries. They are amazing when it comes to diving especially that they can reach up to 700 meters deep. Moreover, their near extinction is due to various reasons including parasitic diseases that are said to lead 40% of reported beluga whale deaths.
On the other hand, I remember a sad story about a Beluga whale born in a large aquarium in Canada. Well, it is not an unreal story because it actually happened. This beluga inspired millions for being the first one of its kind born in the said country. Sadly, it died 2 years ago without even knowing how it feels like to live on its real home.
This beluga whale remained captive even at the very last day of its life. Reaching the age of 21, Qila, the female beluga died in an unknown reason.
Even if Qila has the chance to live on its natural habitat, the threat of pollution and captivity is still present. As a matter of fact, a particular subspecies under beluga called as Cook Inlet is labeled as critically endangered in the IUCN Red List.
If you know other factors that are causing decline in Whales population, please share with us at the comment below. We would love to hear about it and include it in our future blog.