Why are whales endangered

From: Jennifer Philips (jphilips@hawaii.edu)
Date: Wed May 02 2001 - 16:20:47 EDT


Hi I'm form Alaska and i need to find ut why and how are whales
endangered and I was wondering if you could help me. Please?!

Amanda

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Amanda,

For a long time, people hunted and killed whales on a large scale. Whales
provided not only food, but also the basis for many products such as lamp
oil and lipstick. Many countries hunted whales, including the US, taking
tens of thousands of whales a year. The number was so high that whale
populations were incapable of recovering. Because females do not breed until
they are mature (over 10 years of age, usually), and they produce a single
offspring at most every two years, whales could not produce enough young to
replace the numbers that were being killed by whalers. Quickly, therefore,
whales became endangered. Some species were more heavily impacted than
others, partly because they were less numerous even before whaling and
partly because they were more heavily whaled. The Northern right whale is
extremely endangered now for both of these reasons. In fact, the right whale
got its name from whalers who found that, because they tend to be easy to
whale and float when they are dead, they were the "right" whale to kill.
Today, most whale species still struggle to recover from the depletions to
their numbers caused by whaling, even now that few countries still kill
whales. Their numbers will probably slowly recover, but only with continued
protection.

Thanks for you question,
Jen Philips



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