Blue Whales

The blue whale scientific names is balaenoptera musculus. It is a large marine mammal that is part of the baleen whale family. Growing to lengths of up to 100 ft. long and weighing as much as 150 tons or more. Despite being the largest animal alive their body is relatively slim as it is meant for speed and long distance travel. On average they travel at a speed of 5 mph and get up to 25 mph when they feel threatened.

Blue whales are also one of the loudest animals in existence. Their calls can be heard several miles away and far below the oceans surface.Blue whales rarely feel threatened because they are apex predators, which means they are predators that do not have any predators of their own.

Blue whales do not have any teeth as they are apart of the baleen whale family. They instead have baleen plates. Baleen plates have bristles attached to them that act like a fence or net which allows the blue whale to capture its prey while also allowing water to freely move in and out of its mouth. This method is called filter feeding, and it lives up to the name. The whales swim with their mouths open towards swarms or groups of krill. They then filter the water out of their mouths so all that is left is the krill, trapped in their bristle teeth. Once all of the water is removed the whale swallows its prey whole.

They tend to be found in colder temperature waters where they can fill up on food in preparation for mating season. After they fill up on krill and begin to migrate they stop eating food and live primarily off of blubber. During their migration trips the blue whale will travel thousands of miles. Migration travels can last for up to 4 months depending on where they are going. Once they arrive in warmer waters mating season begins.

Whales help regulate the flow of food by helping to maintain a stable food chain and making sure that no one animal species overpopulates the ocean.

Blue whales saw a decline in numbers during the whaling era. During this time the species was close to extinction until the whaling ban came into effect. Before the whaling era there was estimated to be more than 250,000 blue whales. Since the whaling era ended estimates are closer to 5,000–12,000 whales. The species lives in the Antarctic Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean however their populations have become largely fragmented because of the mass whaling that occurred in the past.

Blue whales are threatened by chemical and sound pollution, habitat loss, overfishing of krill, climate change and getting tangled in fishing gear.

Conservation actions for the blue whale include monitoring the status of the Eastern North Pacific Stock (CA-OR-WA) of blue whales via shipboard survey. Placing observers on-board vessels to monitor the take of protected species, including other marine mammals and implementing marine mammal take reduction measures identified in the Pacific Offshore Cetacean Take Reduction Plan.

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