blue whales

Date: Thu Oct 19 2000 - 13:18:13 EDT

Question: How many blue whales are left and why are they endangered?

There are perhaps 5000 to 10000 blue whales still living in the world. They
are distributed in the Atlantic and the Pacific. Blue whales, because of
their size, were not hunted extensively by the earlier whalers. However, in
the 20th century, when big and modern, engine powered ships with cannon
harpoons with explosive tips were in use, and then with the invention of
factory ships, huge animals like blue whales and finbacks were killed in huge
numbers. The whalers killed whales for profit, and killing a massive 80 ton
to 110 ton animal meant a lot of dead whale for the market. So, blue whales
were killed greedily until their numbers became dangerously low. Whale
mothers have one calf every 2 to 3 years. Not all calves live, so increasing
numbers in whale populations is a very slow process.
Great question.

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