The Blue Whale Rising
We have all seen the pictures but few have had the opportunity to actually meet the leviathan of the sea. His size alone makes him one of natures most spectacular creatures. The blue whale is the largest animal on the planet, weighing as much as 200 tons (approximately 33 elephants). Their heart is size of a Volkswagen Beetle. Its stomach can hold one ton of krill and it needs to eat about four tons of krill each day.
There are other amazing facts that are specific to the species. The Blue Whale is the largest animal ever to have lived on earth. Despite being so massive, this giant of the ocean feeds on some of the smallest marine life – tiny shrimp like animals called krill. A single adult can consume 36,000 kg of krill a day. They are solitary animals and travel vast distances throughout the worlds oceans. There are different sub species that inhabit the oceans of the world.
They have loud, deep voices and can communicate with other whales hundreds of miles away. The sound they make can reach up to 188 decibels (anything over 120-130 is painful for humans). Only the sperm whale makes a louder sound.
A rather solitary animal who’s only close bond is between mother and calf. The blue whale is found alone or in small groups in all oceans, but populations in the Southern Hemisphere are much larger. In the Northern Hemisphere, blue whales can be seen regularly in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and off the coasts of Monterey California and Baja California Mexico. They spend the summer in polar waters, feeding. During a dive, the blue whale may engage in a series of turns and 360° rolls to locate prey and rapidly reorient its body to sweep up large concentrations of krill in a single open-mouthed lunge.
In the winter blue whales move toward the Equator to breed. After a gestation of about 12 months, one calf about 8 meters (about 26 feet) long is born in temperate waters. While nursing, calves gain up to 90 kg (about 198 pounds) per day on the rich milk of their mothers. Young are weaned after seven to eight months, when they have reached a length of about 15 metres (about 49 feet).
Once the most important of the commercially hunted baleen whales, the blue whale was greatly reduced in numbers during the first half of the 20th century. In the 1930–31 season alone the worldwide kill of blue whales exceeded 29,000. The species has been protected from commercial whaling since the mid-1960s. Populations of blue whales appear to be recovering and are estimated worldwide at between 10,000 and 25,000 animals. However, the International Union for Conservation of Nature still lists the blue whale as an endangered species.