News from the Natural World: New population of endangered Blue Whales has lost a deadly game of hide and seek.
News from the Natural World: New population of endangered Blue Whales has lost a deadly game of hide and seek. A new population of endangered blue whales had been hiding in the western Indian Ocean. According to NOAA, these gentle giants weigh up to 330,000 pounds and grow up to 110 feet long. The largest creature to have ever lived on Earth would seem hard to miss, but this group had been unknown to human researchers – until now. A group of human scientists managed to eavesdrop on this new population of Blue Whales because they were singing. The human scientists identified a previously unknown Blue Whale song, suggesting that a distinct population had long gone undetected. But why were this population of Blue Whales, the largest animal to have ever lived, so hard to find? The reason has its roots in the past horrors of humanity. More than 300,000 Blue Whales in the Southern Hemisphere and another 20,000 in the North Atlantic and North Pacific were slaughtered during the first half of the 20th century. They were slaughtered by humans who sought to profit from their death and destruction. Blue whales since been protected by the IWC since 1966 and some populations are recovering. However, the species continues to be put at risk by ship strikes, entanglement in fishing gear, habitat degradation and other threats. The new Blue Whale population is probably small and “in critical need of status assessment and conservation action”.