Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Blue Whales of August

The Blue Whale (Balaenoptera musculus)

A pod of 15 Blue Whales, a mother and her calf among them, gathered to feed off the coast of California on August 1st. Sightings of blue whales are very rare. Click here to see video from ABC News. Blue whales are the largest animals ever known to have lived on Earth. These magnificent marine mammals rule the oceans at up to 100 feet (30 meters) long and upwards of 200 tons (181 metric tons). Their tongues alone can weigh as much as an elephant.

Their hearts, as much as an automobile. They are among Earth's longest-lived animals. Scientists have discovered that by counting the layers of a deceased whale's waxlike earplugs, they can get a close estimate of the animal's age. The oldest blue whale found using this method was determined to be around 110 years old. Average lifespan is estimated at around 80 to 90 years.

As pollution degrades our world oceans and destroys more and more marine habitat, try and imagine what these leviathans face as they journey around the globe. Just imagine what they have seen across the years! In 1931, only 80 years ago, their habitat was pristine compared with what it is today. We can do better and we must. Get involved with Oceana, an organization dedicated to protecting the world's oceans.

DID YOU KNOW? Many of our daily decisions — some we might not even think about — impact the health of oceans. Everyday products with petroleum (e.g., chewing gum and aspirin) can be a source of ocean pollution. The seafood we choose to eat also has a big impact on oceans. For every pound of shrimp caught ten pounds of other marine life are killed and thrown away! There are many ways to help the ocean. You CAN become a conscious consumer. For example, buy only fish-free pet food and only seafood that is harvested sustainably. It's easier than you think and you will make a difference.

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