Researchers Will Sail In The Southern Ocean To Look For Blue Whales

Blue whales are one of the most interesting creatures in the world as not too much is known about them. Nonetheless, each time people encounter blue whales, they are amazed by the huge size of these creatures.


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Scientists want to find out more about blue whales, these 30 meter long mammals, weighing 180 tonnes, with tongues weighing as much as an elephant and hearts bigger than a car. Researchers from 5 countries will sail from Hobart to track down blue whales in the Southern Ocean.


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Mike Double from the Marine Mammals Centre explains that these creatures have amazed researchers for many years: “To give you some context, in 30 years of studying these whales there were 220 sightings. They were very close to extinction in the 1970s, and we think they’re recovering, but we know little about their recovery at the moment and that’s why we’re starting this international project, to deliver a new abundance estimate for this species.”


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It seems that now there are many blue whales in the Souther Ocean, but scientists still don’t know to much about them, especially about breeding patterns or life span.


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There will be used acoustic techniques, which should make the technology should make the search easier: “Underwater listening devices transmit the sounds that they hear back to the ship over a radio link and then we sit on the boat with our headphones on listening for whale sounds to come in.” Nonetheless, it doesn’t mean that there will be no errors, but even so, the experience will be great.

Re-Routing Ships to Avoid Collisions with Blue Whales

The Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles are becoming more and more “crowded”, as they are not only swimming channels for blue whales, but they are also crossing points for more and more ships. For blue whales migrating off the coast of Long Beach, traffic from this port gets in their way and can pose a great threat. This is because the growing number of ships means potential collisions and injuries to the endangered whales.


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This also led authorities to re-route ships across the west coast around feeding areas and migration routes, staring this June. Hopefully, this preventative measure will help prevent these massive creatures from getting injured.

As more and more ships pass through this bustling port complex, fin whales and humpbacks are being killed or severely hurt by collisions with barges and boats. These run-ins happen especially during the whale migration season in Southern California, meaning from late December to mid May.

There are about 200 blue whales (which represent 10% of the entire Pacific Ocean population) passing through Catalina Island and the mainland every year on their way to the Santa Barbara Channel, where they feed on krill before migrating to summer feeding grounds farther north.

Even though whale deaths are not an annual occurrence, such cases have been reported in previous years, as current shipping lanes go directly over their feeding grounds. In 2007, for instance, it was reported that an unprecedented 5 blue whales were struck and killed in the Santa Barbara Channel.

Fortunately, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has joined forces with the Coast Guard starting this year and came up with the plan that is expected to take effect that will significantly reduce (if not eliminate) these numbers. Ships such as ocean-going cargo vessels, automobile carriers and tugboats near the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles will be slightly re-routed in order to avoid collisions with blue whales.


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Ships will also be re-routed in the San Francisco Bay and the Channel Islands, which will create a one-mile buffer between the ships and the migration routes of the massive sea creatures. Even though these changes will not reduce all risks concerning blue whales, they will surely drop them in a drastic way.

The US Coast Guard acknowledged the need to move shipping lanes in order to protect whales ever since 2011, but the US Navy objected to the shift. However, the changes were adopted by the International Maritime Organization back in November.

According to Dick McKenna of the Marine Exchange of Southern California, “though approved this past year, there is a comment period that is now required”. He added that “this will be conducted by the Coast Guard shortly, and unofficially there appears to be no opposition to the move. However, things don’t go into effect until the process is officially completed”.

The changes are expected to be implemented and the end of this June. These include reducing the space between the north and southbound pathways from 2 miles to 1 mile and moving the northbound lane 1 mile closer to the mainland. The new shipping lanes are expected to reduce the risk of collisions between ships and the migrating blue whales, which do not need any more threats, as they are already endangered species.

Interesting Facts About Blue Whales

Blue whales are the largest animals that exist on Earth today. Blue whales are very big, but their impressive size and the fact that they are extremely rare makes this species a little known one. Below you can find a series of interesting facts about blue whales. By knowing all these facts you will better understand the species.


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  • Blue whales have the ability to grow up to 100 feet. This makes them larger than a NBA basketball court.
  • Blue whales can weight up to 200 tons.
  • The tongue of a blue whale weights as much as an elephant. This means that about 100 people can fit only in a blue whale’s mouth.
  • The heart of a blue whale weights around 2000 pounds.
  • Blue whales can produce sounds that are louder than a jet engine. This means that they can communicate from distances of more than 1,000 miles away.
  • A blue whale is capable of eating more than 4 tones of krill per day.
  • An adult blue whale can keep 45,999 liters of water in its mouth.
  • A baby blue whale can drink more than 590 liters of milk each day. It can add around 90 kg of its weight each day.
  • A female can only give birth to a baby blue whale at every two to three years.
  • Blue whales do not swallow water. They actually use their baleen plates to filter it. This way they extract krill and copepods, which are part of their daily menu.
  • Despite their large and quite impressive size, blue whales are capable or reaching speeds of no less than 35 km per hour.
  • Blue whales are extremely rare nowadays. Unfortunately, they have become victims of excessive hunting, which led to extension.
  • Blue whales are not very easy to kill. They are extremely large, so capturing such an animal can be really hard.
  • Blue whales can be found in all oceans. However, the largest population of whales is believed to live in Southern Hemisphere, in the North Pacific and the North Atlantic Ocean.


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Blue whales are extremely interesting animals. They are considered to be the largest animals that have ever lived on Earth. The blue whale also is the loudest animal on earth. They have few predators, but they can become victims of attacks by sharks and naturally other whale killers.

Why Are Blue Whales Endangered?

Blue whales are the largest animals that live on Earth. They are spectacular both when it comes to their looks and when referring to their size. The largest blue whale is able to reach 100 to 120 feet. Only its tail is of 15 to 20 feet. Despise their unique features, blue whales are endangered animals. In fact, due to their large sizes, blue whales have managed to draw the attention of humans.

The blue whale was included on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources Red List in the year 1960. It continues to be endangered.


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Why are blue whales endangered?

1. Whaling

Blue whales have probably become endangered due to their large size, which manages to draw the attention of humans towards them. Whale hunting is believed to be the main reason why there are only few individuals from the species left. Whaling much diminished the number of whales left in the world’s bodies of water. The size of these whales made them extremely attractive to hunters.

For long time mariners have actually believed that blue whales, being very big animals, could represent a deadly threat in the sea. However, this period known as early whaling did not cause the species to be endangered, as the limited known techniques to capture these animals made the damage produced to blue whale population controllable.


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Starting with the 1930s, things changed. Powerful weapons started to be used, an impressive number of whales being hunted each year. Only in 1931 29,649 whales were killed. As numbers increased over the years, the species easily became endangered.

2. Natural causes

However, hunting may be the most important factor leading to this situation, but it is not the only one. Blue whales have a very slow rate of reproduction. A female blue whale can only give birth once at every two years, and to a single calf.

Blue whales usually live in cold environments, so they can easily be injured by ice. Even though blue whales shock with their impressive dimensions, they can simply become victims of other inhabitants of the ocean. Blue whales can be hunted by killer whales.


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3. Fishing equipment

Fishing equipment may also cause many whale deaths. Blue whales can easily entangle in fishing gear. As they can get seriously injured, fishing equipment is believed to be one of the main causes which has lead to the death of many blue whales.


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A protected species

Having all these facts under consideration, in 1966 the International Whaling Commission declared blue whales a protected species. Since that moment hunting blue whales was banned.


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Despite the measures taken to increase the number of blue whales existent in sea waters, this population is still endangered. Heavy sea traffic, sea accidents and other man’s sea activities cause injuries and deaths within the blue whale population every year. Statistics actually show that only 12,000 to 15,000 blue whales still exist in world’s waters nowadays.

Discover A Magical Creature Through Videos

Blue wales are amazing creatures, that are rather unfamiliar to people, do to the fact that their research is quite difficult. Even so, they are fascinating, beautiful and absolutely enormous and you can learn a lot about them by simply looking at the following videos.


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In this first video, you can see a slow capture of a blue whale swimming and you also receive a few details on its lifestyle and habits that are familiar to people.

The second video is a news footage in which a lucky group of tourists had the opportunity of their lifetime when they were surrounded by several blue wales during a tour.

Last year, a great colony of blue wales was seen near Sri Lanka and researches started on these. In the following video, you can see the footage taken for the scientific study done on the beautiful blue whales.

With all the new information discovered with the help of these videos, you can see the fact that people are trying to get to know the amazing blue wales as much as possible, but the difficulties that arise in the studies still stand in the way of getting to know more and more about these beautiful creatures.