Do Ship Strikes Pose The Biggest Threat To Blue Whales?
Scientists are constantly carrying out research on the blue whale in attempt to assist in the survival of this magnificent creature which experts now estimate are numbering less than 10 000. Apart from sharks and Japanese and Norwegian whaling, ships strikes pose the biggest threats to the baby blue whale. Research offers the best hope for new shipping paths that will give Blue Whales the space they need.
Scientists and oceanographers are constantly carrying out research on the blue whale in attempt to assist in the survival of this magnificent creature which experts now estimate are numbering less than 10 000. In order to do this, researchers go to great lengths to uncover unanswered questions such as where are these blue whales born. Why would they want to know this?
There are nine distinct blue whale populations in the world. The Eastern North Pacific blue whale population estimated at a little over 2000, are off the coast of California and they migrate from north to south and back again every year. The best way to protect them is to discover where they go, where they breed and learn what they will encounter along the way.
Most of the time blue whales swim far off shore only surfacing for brief periods usually for only a few seconds at a time. In late summer however many of these creatures gather to feed. Researchers then have a chance to tag them. They can then track them during the winter migration south with satellite tags.
Researchers try to place the tag about the dorsal fin so that the tag can be heard by the satellite every time it surfaces. When the animal surfaces to breathe the tag sends the location co ordinates to the satellite then to the computer. The data will help them track each whales migratory path.
They use a crossbow to retrieve small skin and blubber samples. The DNA analysis will reveal the sex of each animal. Each whales genetic ID is stored in an international database.
Researchers record the life histories of the whales, taking photographs to identify the markings. It is possible to identify a blue whale using a concept similar to finger printing. While the whales seem blue under the water, out of the water their skins are gray. They are born with distinct marks on their backs. These dorsal patterns never change.
The researcher identifies individual whales then matches them to known animals in their photographic database. The natural markings allow them to identify individuals. Scientists have been collecting markings on blue whales since 1986 and they use this information to estimate the population size and track their movements.
The reason for tracking their movements is that some of the higher density areas that Blue Whales use and return through every summer to feed are intersecting with areas of increasing shipping traffic. These ships are not only becoming more numerous but they are bigger and faster as they supply more and more goods to the harbors of the world.
This is the recipe for disaster for the Blue Whales and their calves. Apart from sharks and Japanese and Norwegian whaling, ships strikes pose the biggest threats to the baby blue whale. Research offers the best hope for new shipping paths that will give Blue Whales the space they need.
Source: Free Articles from ArticlesFactory.com
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Stephen has been writing articles for nearly 3 years. Come visit his latest website at Interior Design Ideas. People will also find valuable information on Apartment Interior Design. The secret to creating a comfortable apartment interior design is to transform the apartment into a personalized space. People will also find valuable information on Steel Buildings For Sale. Investors are in search for various steel buildings for sale because these buildings have many benefits compared to the traditional timber structures.