• One of the main threats to the gray whale population is the seismic survey, which is conducted within the offshore oil and gas projects on Sakhalin.

  • Hector's dolphin is often drowned after becoming entangled in fishing nets. So environmentalists insist on a total ban, and the commercial and recreational fishing nets in the habitat of these animals

  • Manatees have a unique ability: their wasted teeth are replaced by permanent teeth. Among mammals, this only elephants may boast of this.

  • The length of the body of the adult narwhal is 3.8-4.5 m. The weight of males is 1.5 tons. Tusks of cetaceans differ by strength and flexibility

  • Besides a man monk seals has no enemies in the nature. Once these pinnipeds could be found off the coast of the Crimea

  • Vaquita is also called "Vakit", which in Spanish means "little cow". It is distinguished by an original color: black "points" and the dark skin around the mouth

  • The biggest shock to the population of river dolphins was caused by the construction of the dam "Three Gorges", which changed the hydrological regime of the Yangtze

  • Southern whales are very friendly which, in particular, led to the almost complete disappearance of their extinction during the active whaling

  • The Saimaa ringed seal is the only endemic among mammals of Finland

Save and Preserve: Marine mammals in danger

Ice Melting, ocean temperature rise, water pollution - it turns out that the threat hanging over the entire populations of marine animals is connected with humans. Both 30-meters giant whales and baby- dolphins swim into oblivion due to the activities of their two-legged "brothers." Fortunately, the mind increasingly wins over greed and arrogance. There are species which are thinking about saving too late, but someone else can still be saved.

1. Gray whales. These sea drifters, weighing average 20 tons, can be called "grandfathers" of aquatic mammals - age type has 30 million years. Gray whale is the most migrating animal on Earth. If you count the kilometers in his life it turns out that the giant swim to the moon and back. His jaw has a protrusion, which helps to plow the bottom and the whale swallows everything on his way, and then filters mud and stones through mustache. It is because of this method of feeding which led whales almost to the verge of extinction - they are mostly "graze" in shallow waters, where they are easy to kill. By the 30s of the last century there were only a few hundred gray whales left. At the moment, the population slowly recovered, because whale fishing was completely banned and only indigenous people of Chukotka are entitled catch them.

2. Hector's dolphin. Let's get rom the Giants go to the kids. Hector's dolphin is the smallest among dolphins and, unfortunately, one of the rarest. Off the coast of New Zealand, where this endemic species lives, there are left a little more than seven thousand of them, which is about 15 per cent of the original population. The dorsal fin of a dolphin is not as sharp as his other fellows', and it's rounded - New Zealanders say he resembles Mickey Mouse ears. Communicating with each other, these animals instead of whistling (as other dolphins) gave short clatter sounds. And they are killed in the same way as the gray whales – due to the love of shallow water. The main cause of death is water pollution near the coast and the propellers of ships.

3. Manatees. These ones feed exclusively with algae, without any danger to humans. However, only American manatees that live between the two Americas feel relatively quiet. Two of the remaining populations (Amazonian and African ones) are being actively hunted. And not only for their meat. Natives of the Amazon, for example, believe the bones of the manatees middle ear is a strong aphrodisiac, and African tribes "cure" rheumatism and ear ailments with their fat. Human activity also degrades the chemical composition of algae and poaching often results in the death of animals entangled in fishing nets.

4. Narwhals. Amazing sea unicorns as if they descended to the harsh Arctic waters from the pages of the northern legends. Earlier herds of narwhals numbered up to a few thousand individuals. Now, the animals prefer to stay alone or form small groups (some males or females with calves). It is not hard to guess that the cause of their destruction was the beauty and the unusual type of horns. Which is not a horn at all, but a modified tooth. It was believed that he has magical powers, and enterprising Eskimos still cut crafts from it to amuse tourists. Considerable damage to the population of narwhals is made by oil production in the Arctic. By the way, recently, scientists have suggested that narwhal tusk is not a means of protection or mating (as elephants or rhinoceroses), but ... antenna! Imbued with a variety of nerve endings, it helps the animal to navigate.

5. The Mediterranean monk seal. Previously, there was no prefix "Mediterranean" in the title of this pinniped, as its habitat was also the Black Sea. Now the Black Sea monk seal population off the coast of Bulgaria has only a few dozen individuals. Already in 1970s there were not more than a thousand individuals around the world, and now it's hard to find even five hundred. Though there's no hunting for these animals now, it is difficult to find a more active region than Southern Europe and the North African coast on the map of tourist. There are fewer Quiet corners and fish in the Mediterranean, and the water becomes dirtier. Therefore, monk seals is in the listed of World Wildlife Fund as one of the six mammals at the most risk.

6. Vaquita. Perhaps the most mysterious marine mammal. It lives only in the northern part of the Gulf of California. This animal avoids contact with the man, prefers solitude and comes to the surface, almost without disturbing the surface of the water, just in order to take a breath. In fact, the existence of this "invisible pig" has been confirmed only in 1985, and its fishing was never kept. Presumably, in nature there are only about 600 individuals of vaquita. But because of the growing intake of the Colorado River and accidental fallings into the fishing nets and penetration of chemical fertilizers into the waters of the Gulf size of its population is slowly declining.

7. Baiji (Chinese river dolphin). Hopefully, the mammal is still found in nature. It happened so that the rapid growth of the economy and industry of China was in the first place paid by its unique fauna. For the first time scientists have found white dolphin in the Yangtze River in 1918, in 1990 there were left only a couple of hundred, and the recent documentary evidence of its existence is amateur video made in 2007. Since then baiji in rivers has not been seen. There is hope that some crumbs of the population could have survived in the lakes of Dongting and Poyang. But while this has not been confirmed, the Chinese river dolphin is considered the first cetaceans, completely extinct due to human activities.

8. South Whales. Huge marine mammals confidently hold second place in the ranking of the Giants, second only to blue whales. About 5 million years ago, southern right whales were divided into three different types, and since then did not interbreed with each other. The reason for this was the ... fat! The so-called blubber, amounting to 40% of body weight of southern right whales, helps thermoregulation in the cold waters, but it becomes a burden in the warm ones. So related species live, without knowing each other, separated by the warm waters of the equator. By the way, blubber played havoc with the southern whales. This fat weighs very little, so the carcass of a dead whale floats, which greatly simplifies the whaling. Fortunately, after a total ban on hunting of southern whales, their population begins to recover.

9. The Saimaa ringed seal. The endemic subspecies of freshwater seal, found only in the Saimaa lake system in Finland. They have no more than 300 individuals. This animal feeds on small fish, so a special danger for it are fishing gear, in particular, the large mesh. Once on the seal was hunted, but since 1955 it is under state protection as a threatened species. In the past two years, winter in Finland fwas not snowy, and the offspring of seals was threatened: pups had nowhere to hide. Then the volunteers have built artificial snow drifts, which has helped 58 youngsters to survive. Finland Forestry is currently implementing a program in which it is planned to increase the size of the population to 400 animals in 2025. Unfortunately, extinction still threatens the mammal, as the amount of breeding females does not exceed 90.

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