The mammalian order Cetacea, which includes over 70 species of whales and dolphins are at the top of the food chain in the marine environment and plays a critical role in that ecosystem. Unfortunately, due to their large size, different types of whales have experienced profound declined over the last few years.
Are Blue Whale endangered?
Blue whales or suborder Mysticeti are among the most well-known species due to its largest size of as high as 100 ft and over 150 tones. Studies show what the blue whales were abundant and were easy to find in all major oceans in the world before the 1700s. But thereafter, they were hunted to almost extinction. The problem is attributed largely to the commercial whaling that happened between 19th and early 20th century. Among the 11 species of Suborder Mysticeti, 9 are now estimated to be below pre-whaling population numbers and are now less than a fraction of its population 100 years ago. Laws have been enacted to protect this species and its population is now growing at a very slow phase.
When did whales become endangered?
During 1700’s whales were very popular among the hunters due to their large sizes and supply of blubber. They were mainly hunted for oil, food, clothing and other products. Whale hunting became a lucrative business because of the growing industrial age as well as fishing technologies, which made it easy for hunters to hunt and kill or capture whales.
Over few years, whale populations declined significantly and attracted the attention of the organisations such as the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling, which declared the species endangered and stepped in to regulate its killing. Although the blue whales hunting was there from the B.C. era, it was in small scale and did not cause a lot of environmental impact as the demand for whale was much low. However, in the late1700’s and early 1800’s demands for whales products rose and whale hunting was intensified.
Why are GREY whales endangered?
Grey whales are friendly animals when now not provoked but they fight back when attacked. They were among the most hunted whale in the1700s where they were reduced to a few hundred. They are friendly and sometimes swim near boats and allow tourists to touch their backs which are covered with barnacle.
Today, the Eastern Pacific has seen a remarkable improvement since the introduction of the whale protection laws. The gray whales formally habited different parts of the whole including Atlantic and Pacific oceans.However, they hunted to almost extinction in the 1700s in the Atlantic Oceans and in 1900s they were also hunted to extinction in the Pacific Ocean.
However, since 1940 when the international law was enacted to protect the Whale, the Pacific Ocean has recorded tremendous improvement in the population of the Grey Whale. The population of Grey whale is now estimated
at about 20,000 across the Eastern Pacific Ocean, which is about its historic population.
In 1995, Grey whale species in the Eastern Pacific Ocean was removed from the list of endangered species. However, it is still considered an endangered species in other areas including Western Pacific where they have now
recovered to its original population. Although there are no enough data on the number of whale population across the world, they are believed to be highly endangered as they are close to extinction.
How many whales are left?
Although the Blue Whales are still distributed globally, their population has reduced tremendously across the world. The Blue Whales are currently estimated at about 20,000 across the world, which make them one of the most endangered species in the world. Research shows that most whales of about 3000 are concentrated around California.
Currently, there are no clear numbers of whales in most part of the world but he whales around Iceland are estimated at around 1,000. Various techniques are now being adopted to estimate the number of whales directly. However, the estimation of whales in different areas is not an exact science but the estimates come with a confidence level that reflects the uncertainty of the estimates.
Different studies have been carried out since the ban of whaling to examine whether the global Blue Whale population has been stabilised or improved. These studies put increase estimated to be about 7.3% per annum but its population is still less than 1% of the original population. The whale population recovery varies regionally. For instance, the relative population of Blue Whale in the EasternNorth Pacific has been relatively small as compared to other parts of the world. In this region, whales populations have now risen to about 2,200, which is about 97% of its pre-hunting populations.
Humpback whales have also shown population increase indifferent areas where data have been provided. They are in abundance in theWestern North Pacific where are they are estimated at over 17000. The few available data estimates Fin whales at about 35,000 in the Northern Atlantic where it believed to host the largest population of this species in the world.
The minke whale:
The Minke Whales are available in different varieties and their classifications are complex. However, there are two Minke Whale species that are common; the Northern Minke Whale and the Antarctic Minke Whale. In theNorthern Minke Whale, two species are of concern according to the Internation Whaling Commission; the J-Stock and O-Stock. The J-Stock are available in EastChina, the Yellow Sea and the Sea of Japan while the O-Stock is mainly found inPacific waters Okhotsk Sea.
Some Eastern North Pacific minke whales are facing extinction, with fears that some might have been depleted due to modern hunting and whaling techniques. Studies show those Minke whales are the most abandon
species across the world but are available in a wide variety of species. Resend studies by the United States of America shows that a number of Minke Whale lives the U.S. Water.
Different types of whales including the Blue whale were driven to almost extinction in 18th and early 19th century. In the late 19century, international convention and regulations were developed to protect the whales from commercial whaling. The blue whale was declared endangered in 1970under the Endangered Species Conservation Act and its protection was intensified.
Today, most whale species populations are recovering at a very low phase andmight take many more years to recover fully. The Gray Whales seems to recoverfaster in some areas where they have been declared to be no longer endangeredspecies.