The whale is the largest mammal on our planet, and a type of animal called a Cetacean. This class of creatures includes any aquatic animal such as whales, dolphins and porpoises. Whales which have teeth are known as Odontoceti, these include Sperm whales, Killer whales and Beluga whales. These are just three of the estimated 80 species in existence today and with capabilities such as diving up to 3,000 feet underwater. Whilst whales now live in our oceans and seas, this was not the case millions of years ago. The ancestors of whales once lived on land, but adapted over the years to live in the oceans and eventually adapted to living there permanently like they do today.
Depending on the type of whale, they will either hunt or attack their prey such as small fish, shrimp and plankton and sometimes even larger mammals, such as sharks and even other whales! Some whales use a technique known as echolocation to hunt for their food, where they send out sound waves by clicking. By sending out these clicking noises, the noises we often associate with whales, the sound waves bounce off their prey to tell them where their prey is and where it is moving to. Other whales attack in packs, just like land animals such as wolves, and often hunt in groups to outsmart their prey. By staying in their tight family group, they often succeed in their hunt for food. However, the unfortunate thing about this species is that they are on the endangered species list.
Men hunt whales to use them to make products such as lamp oil, cosmetics and even food, leaving the species almost extinct as a result. Today there are laws in place to help the whales and organisations such as the “Save the Whales” foundation, founded in 1977, work hard to protect them. However, new dangers are threatening whales, such as pollution of the seas, loss of food resources, climate change and nets or plastic lost in the water; these cause the animals to become caught and then to drown. The Whales are still in danger of extinction and being wiped out completely.
Help can be given to these organisations working to protect the whales through donations, adopting a whale or simply supporting their cause, for which the link is posted for below.