The Blue Whale


As new species everyday face the risk of extinction, “survival for the fittest” becomes a bitter reality that cannot be ignored. Although Blue Whales are the largest creatures on Earth, their survival is threatened which proves that survival is for the fittest and the fittest does not necessarily have to be the largest. The blue whale is about 30 meters long, and it weighs about 150 tons or more. In the past, there were huge numbers of blue whales. Unfortunately, nowadays their numbers decreased. Due to their large size and supply for blubber, they are always exposed to dangers of hunting. Blubber is a thick layer that covers the whole body of the whale, and thus protecting it from cold weather.

In the past, people hunted whales for a number of reasons. They used blubber in the industry of candles and oil-based lamps because it would burn without leaving an ugly smell. Sometimes people would hunt whales to feed on them. The 18th century witnessed the rise of whaling which means hunting whales for their meat or oil. Technology and improved boats made life easier for hunters. Thus, advances in technology posed a threat to blue whales and whales in general. Nowadays, because whales are endangered, there are a number of organizations calling for an end to whaling.

Unfortunately, whaling is not whales’ only threat. Whales sometimes get hit by huge ships and other times, they get entangled in fishing gear. The gears leave scars and eventually lead to their death. Noise pollution also poses a threat. For communication, whales depend mainly on hearing for locating food, mates and avoiding predators. Noise from ships and offshore construction distracts and annoys them. There have been incidents when whales died because of acoustic trauma.

Human beings can stop, or limit whaling altogether, but unfortunately some of the threats to whales are beyond their control. Global warming, for example, has an indirect, though crucial effect on threatening the survival of whales. Due to the rise of the temperature of sea water, Phytoplankton—a sea plant that is so tiny to the extent that it cannot be seen with the naked eye—has declined. Large as the blue whale is, its main prey is the krill, a tiny sea creature that feeds on the threatened Phytoplankton. Only baby blue whales feed on their mother’s milk. So survival of the largest creature on Earth, whose tongue weighs as much as an elephant and whose heart weighs as much as a car, depends on the survival of tiny creatures without which blue whales are threatened. If proper care and attention are not given to environment, a lot of lovely creatures as the blue whales will become a memory of the past.


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SCIplanet is a bilingual edutainment science magazine published by the Bibliotheca Alexandrina Planetarium Science Center and developed by the Cultural Outreach Publications Unit ...
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