Video: If Whales Swam Among Us, Would We Care More for Them?

Candice Gaukel Andrews January 22, 2015 2
Whale in a forest

Whales are susceptible to a variety of threats, most of which are the direct result of human activities. Of the 13 great whale species, seven are currently classified as endangered or vulnerable. ©From a Whale and Dolphin Conservation video

Big, charismatic animals, such as polar bears and bison, are the ones that seem to grab our hearts—sometimes to the exclusion of other, well-deserving but smaller threatened species. At other times, especially when large species are mostly hidden from our everyday lives and it’s unlikely to ever encounter them, the old adage of “out of sight, out of mind” comes into play. That appears to be the case with whales.

According to the World Wildlife Fund, although whales are enormous, at the top of the food chain and play an important part in the overall health of the marine environment, seven out of the 13 great whale species are classified as endangered or vulnerable.

Today, the main threats to whales come from industry—such as collisions with ships, pollution of the oceans and entanglement in fishing gear—commercial whaling and climate change. Noise caused by shipping activity and oil and gas development can disrupt whales’ hearing, keep them from getting to critical feeding and breeding grounds, and change their migratory paths to less optimal routes.

The loss of sea ice and warming waters in the Arctic and Antarctic are affecting the habitats and food of whales. The plants and animals they feed on will likely move or wane in numbers as climate change alters temperatures, winds and ocean currents. Many whale species may have to migrate much further to reach feeding grounds, leaving them with less time and energy to forage for food. In fact, the reproductive rates of the endangered North Atlantic right whale have recently decreased due to the shift in food availability. As little as 300 of these whales remain. Other whale species’ population numbers vary from 10,000 to 90,000.

Watch the short, surreal video below. Made by Gentleman Scholar for Whale and Dolphin Conservation, it suggests that if whales could swim in our midst on land, perhaps we would care more about protecting them. The producers suggest you watch this video in full-screen mode.

Good idea.

Here’s to finding your true places and natural habitats,

Candy

 

2 Comments »

  1. Beat J Korner January 25, 2015 at 5:41 pm - Reply

    I agree it’s with all the other animals underwater as well. The ocean is blue, so what could be possibly be wrong with over-fishing, higher acidity and pollution? What I don’t see I don’t care?! Time to rethink our responsibilities in conservation of the ONLY planet we have. We have no other choices.

  2. Jen D January 22, 2015 at 6:53 pm - Reply

    I once watched a documentary where a scientist analyzed DNA extracted from whale meat and found the sample was from a known whale in the GenBank sequencing database. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gueKwcoSj7I

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