Rare marine mammals
February 19 marked the World Day of protection of marine mammals. In honor of this environmental holiday we tell about one of the most endangered species of marine mammals.
Narwhal - a form close to the vulnerable situation. These unique animals resembling unicorns live in the cold Arctic waters.
In the Middle Ages because of the "horns", which is believed to have magical powers, narwhal destroyed in large quantities. However, even today unusual tusk may cause the killing of whales.
In addition, the earlier to hunt narwhals Eskimos used hand-held harpoons, and these days are often hunted by motor boats and harpoons automatic. Everything else, narwhals - some of the most vulnerable to climate change, and pollution of marine mammals in the Arctic.
Narwhal is listed in the International Red Book and the Red Book of Russia. The total population of this species is about 80 thousand.
It is interesting that the "horn" narwhal horn was not. In fact, it modified the left front tooth that has grown in direct hooked shallow spiral tusk. He is hollow and weighs about 10 kg. Long-tusked narwhals have only males, females also have shorter and more direct "horns."
Southern right whales, species threatened with extinction. Three types of whales, belonging to this genus are found in different regions of the globe. Southern right whale inhabit the Southern Ocean area, the North Atlantic right whale lives in the western Atlantic Ocean, and the Japanese whale - in the northern part of the Pacific Ocean. All of these species are listed in the International Red Book. Moreover, the North Atlantic right whales and the Japanese are among the most endangered whales in the world. Thus, the number of North Atlantic right whales is presently about 300 - 350 individuals, and the Japanese whales - about 500 individuals.
Because of the relatively slow movement, tendency to swim near the coast and the high content of fat, southern right whales in the past been one of the most desirable prey of whalers. And today, despite the fact that whaling is banned in most countries, people still remains the biggest threat to these species.
According to scientists, one of the main reasons for southern right whales drawdown is that the latter often fatally injure the court. And besides, southern right whales, like other cetaceans, often entangled in fishing gear. The two man-made factors, such as the North Atlantic right whale to account for 48% of all deaths of this kind.
The southern whales can reach up to 18 meters in length and weigh up to 91 tons, which makes them much more gray and humpback whales, but less blue. A distinctive feature of the southern right whales are thick horny skin on the head, which acquire a whitish color due crustacean parasites, whale lice.
Vaquita, the view on the brink of extinction. It is the smallest marine mammal (the length is not more than 145 cm) lives exclusively in the shallow lagoons of the northern Gulf of California. Scientists estimate that only a wild left between 100 and 300 individuals of this species, which makes it the most threatening position in comparison with other members of the order Cetacea.
Today, the number of Californian pig continues to decline, and this is primarily due to the fact that animals are often caught in gill nets (netting, which was exhibited along the coast). For example, according to research conducted in the El Golfo de Santa Clara, one of the three largest marinas, home to the California pigs, fishing nets are responsible for approximately forty deaths of these animals per year (that is, die every year about 17% of the population California pigs living in the harbor of El Golfo de Santa Clara). Scientists suggest that a total ban on the use of fishing nets in the habitat of these animals will help save a rare species. Other threats to the life of vaquita concerns pollution of their habitat.
It is also important to note that if this kind of completely disappear in the wild, it will have a significant impact on the ecology of the northern Gulf of California. So, can decrease the number of sharks in the diet which includes vaquita, and occur overpopulation of certain types of bottom fish, squid and crustaceans, serving food to these animals.
Interestingly, the vaquita is moving very slowly. It periodically rises to the surface to breathe, and almost immediately disappears in water. In suitable conditions, this animal can live for about 20 years.
The blue whale
The blue whale, an endangered species. Even before the beginning of the 20th century, the largest animals on earth were distributed in almost all oceans (approximate size was then 202 thousand - 311 thousand individuals).
Figure blue whale compared with a diver:
But then they began hunting, and for a century view almost completely disappeared. When in 1966 came into force an international ban on the catch of blue whales, the number of species began to increase gradually. Today, according to researchers in the wild live about 10-25 thousand blue whales.
blowhole blue whale (the head directed to the right):
Because of their enormous size adult blue whales have no natural enemies. However, they can be fatally injured after a collision with large vessels, and killed after becoming entangled in fishing nets. In addition, the increased background noise in the ocean, in particular due to the sonar, whales prevents navigate in space, and "communicate" with each other, which in turn makes it difficult to find a partner for reproduction.