Life Issues – Mother Nature – Wondrous Blue
The largest Mammal on the planet, the Blue Whale is an astonishing creature that strikes awe within all that appreciate the miracle of Mother Nature.
This Species of whale is the largest animal ever to have lived on the earth. Matching in colossal size to the long extinct dinosaurs, but greater in mass, the Blue Whale truly is a majestical creature to be considered a living, breathing wonder of our world.
Throughout history the Blue Whale has been marvelled and held as a mystical creature and many generations of children would have wished an opportunity to have caught a glimpse of this beautiful animal.
The Blue Whale can grow to a gigantic 33 metres (110ft) in length and weigh up to 190 tonnes. This is not to say that all Blue Whales are this immense in size and it would probably be fair to say that often, much smaller Blue Whales are sighted. There are also other subspecies of the Blue Whale and these are not quite as impressive, although they would still be enough of a sight to take your breath away. In fact to give you a mental picture to the sheer vastness of these whales, consider that should it suit the Blue whale to do so, it would be able to stand a Bull elephant on its tongue. Now that makes for a weird image don’t you think?
Here is another interesting size fact. Blue Whale mothers truly are very brave indeed. The Blue Whale baby is already the size of an elephant on the day of its birth. Within six to seven months of feeding entirely on it’s mothers milk, consuming 100 litres (175 pints) each and everyday and gaining on average 90kg (200 lbs) by each bedtime, the baby whale will have grown to an enormous 16 metres (52ft). Wowwa!
The Blue Whale more often than not travels alone and contact with other whales is more often than not confined to the breeding period only. Sometimes pairs of mothering whales are sited and on occasion the species may come together to feed. But in most part the blue whale is a solitary creature that navigates great distance alone and unseen.
As well as being the largest creature in the ocean, they are also the loudest. We are all familiar with whale talk, which is recognisable as long mournful groans that echo throughout the seas. The Blue Whale makes a series of different sounds, with grunts, hums and moans, which are capable of travelling huge nautical distance and would surely be described as deafening at a massive 180 decibels.
While it is still possible to site this whale in many regions of the world, man has once again placed his curse upon yet another species, bringing about great concern for the long-term survival of this extraordinary animal. In some regions of the world the Blue Whale was hunted without consideration for it’s continued existence.
Most of the information that has been collected on the Blue Whale has come from the whaling industry. For instance, the weight and size calculations for these stunning beasts were gauged by pieces of slaughtered whale being weighed, while adding extra tonnes to compensate for blood loss. As for length of these animals, the majority of these statistics could well have been wrong because on killing the whales, the whalers then towed the creature back to slaughter and the whale would end up being stretched.
Throughout the world there remains somewhere in the region of about 6000 – 14000 Blue Whales. The Balaenoptera Musculus as it is scientifically known is considered an endangered species, unlike other members of the Balaenopteridae family.
In 1966 the whalers were given a total ban in regards to capture and slaughter of the Balaenoptera Musculus and all Blue Whales were considered a protected species. Although this has allowed the Blue Whale an extended stay in the oceans, there has not been any increase in the numbers of whales being born and there is much concern for it’s future.
For the planet to loose a creature of such splendour would be a tragedy and a gross injustice to the species. The Blue Whale really is the last remaining giant and we would not only be losing a species, but also a part of something that we all seek within our dreams. A place in which harmony between man and beast exists. A place that creatures of great magnificence and magical presence inhabit. Our world would be uninspiring and void of such enchantment without these creatures and yet we cannot seem to look past our own needs and at the greater picture.
What the future holds for the Magnificent Blue Whale can only be determined by the short-term actions of the human race. We really do need to collectively start making the kind of dramatic changes to our environmental attitude that will see the survival and growth of endangered species teetering on the brink of extinction. We create the problem and yet we are seemingly unable to fix the damage we do.
Tomorrow is another day, but for the Blue Whale it may well be a day to late.
Groups such as Green Peace, Save the Whale and the World Wildlife Fund can be contacted for more information and this is one way for you to be able to help and make a difference to the survival of the Blue and other types of whale.
Join us soon for another Life Issues.