Unfortunately, many majestic whale species around the world are currently under threat of extinction. The sad truth is that these endangered whale species are often most threatened by man-made problems; including hunting, whaling, pollution from oil and gas operations, ocean noise and other forms of habitat degradation accelerated by human influence.
As proud supporters of Whale & Dolphin Conservation, we felt it was important to share some of the most shocking statistics about these beautiful animals – highlighting both their awesome majesty and their scarily low population estimates.
Endangered Whale Species
While all whale species are under threat from human activity to greater or lesser extents, many are considered endangered or critically endangered, including the following:
Western Grey Whale (Eschrichtius robustus)
Estimated Population: less than 100
Max. Length: 14m – 15m
Distribution: Western North Pacific
Threats: Chemical pollution, prey depletion, oil and gas operations and fishing gear.
Fact: After a lifetime of migrations, a grey whale can swim the equivalent distance to the moon and back!
North Atlantic Right Whale (Eubalaena glacialis)
Estimated Population: approx. 500
Max. Length: 14m – 18m
Distribution: North Atlantic
Threats: Vessel collisions, fishing gear, climate change and ocean noise.
Fact: Once a preferred target for whalers, the Latin name of this majestic animal means “good (or true) whale of the ice”.
North Pacific Right Whale (Eubalaena japonica)
Estimated Population: a few hundred
Max. Length: 15m – 17m
Distribution: North Pacific
Threats: Unsustainable population size, oil operations, fishing gear and vessel collisions.
Fact: There may be as few as 30 left in the northeast sub-population, closest to the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska.
Fin Whale (Balaenoptera physalus)
Estimated Population: approx 84,000
Max. Length: 23m – 26m
Threats: Habitat degradation, climate change, vessel collisions, fishing gear and continued whaling and hunting.
Fact: Despite being the second largest mammal in the world, fin whales can swim much faster than many boats!
Blue Whale (Balaenoptera musculus)
Estimated Population: 10,000 – 25,000
Max. Length: 30m – 33m
Threats: Habitat degradation, climate change, fishing gear, vessel strikes and pollution from chemicals and oil
Fact: Thankfully, after a united conservation campaign around the world, the Blue Whale population is increasing once again!
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