Whales are one of the oldest living creatures on the planet. They are known for their monstrosity, gentleness, and longevity. The blue whale is considered the largest creature that ever lived on the planet. Despite their longevity, they are still not prone to various factors that lead to their death.
Eventually, life ends for these gentle giants as the years go by if they’re lucky enough. Some whales can live up to 100 years, and some aren’t able to reach that age for many reasons. If you want to know the common causes of death among whales and how do whales die, then we will list them below.
How Do Whales Die?
There is a lot of answer to the question about how do whales die, two of which is manmade and natural causes. However, manmade easily comes to mind as human activities such as hunting, pollution, bycatching, and injuries from massive ships cause whale death. Some other causes of death include infection, giving birth, starvation, and becoming beached. Here’s the list of common causes why whales die.
Mature whales tend to be larger and likes to swim freely out in the open water, and because of this, they are likely to get hit by massive ships and boats, causing injury. Whales tend to have one of the fewest predators in the ocean, and whenever they hear or see large ships, they don’t even bulge. As a result, they get stuck or hit by passing ships that may cause deep wounds or, even worse, internal bleeding.
If the whale survives a collision, it will most likely cause concussion and will result in an even more problematic as it can lead to infection head injuries. The big question is, how do ships strikes often occur? It is estimated that each year, 80 whales are struck by ships. Thanks to the advancement of technology, scientists have already marked various whales across the planets that help monitor their activity.
Another biggest threat to a whale’s survival is pollution, whether it can be in solid or liquid form. It has serious effects on the health of the whale – which answers the question about “How do whales die?”
Fishing nets are one of the most hazardous threats to the whale population as more and more whales become entangled each year. If a whale is entangled, its movements are restricted, leading to drowning and untimely death.
Whales who also become entangled across their mouth can also die of starvation that prevents them from opening their mouth to eat prey. Liquid pollutants is another problem almost the entire marine life face as constant exposure to harmful chemicals may lead to cancerous tumors. Some beached whales found on the shores have also been witnessed that their bellies contain plastics, and when this happens, this can lead to poisoning, infection, starvation, and death.
Beaching is the term used when a whale is stuck on the shore as they pass onto shallow regions of the water. This happens when they let the tide get them onto the shallow parts or when a wave carries them. When a whale is beached, it can suffocate as the whale’s massiveness can easily cause its organs to get crushed. When a whale is beached, dehydration and drowning are the common results.
However, a beached whale can survive a few hours. If you are lucky enough to see a beached whale near you, call a marine wildlife organization to take action. One reason whales are beached is that they are constantly looking for food without knowing they are in the shallow regions of the water.
As mentioned earlier, whales don’t have many predators in the ocean. But when they do, it is always the sharks and the orcas who often look for them. Their large size makes their predators somewhat intimidated by them.
That’s why some predators resort to targeting their calves. In some rare instances, pods of orcas are witnessed preying on large humpback whales, grey whales, and other species of whales.
Of course, some of the reasons how do whales die are about getting sick. Like most animals and humans, whales too get sick. Scrapes and cuts can be a breeding ground for infection, bacteria, or parasites. And if the whale’s immune system cannot fight off these infections, it will often lead to their death.
Some whales also die when giving birth due to various difficulties. Diseases can also be passed on from whale to whale. However – this is a rare occurrence as whales are solitary creatures and only assemble a few times each year.
Overfishing is one of the few reasons whales suffer from starvation. Almost all types of whales migrate searching for large concentrations of food and usually would take months to fast in search of it. And in some way, an injured whale can’t swim on its own, and it would lead to starvation and eventual death.
Climate change also affects the concentration of krill in Antarctica, and they are abundant during colder seasons. When global warming continues to wreak havoc in various parts of the world, the number of krill, the primary source of food for whales, can decline over the years.
As a result, whales can search for months again, looking for viable options, and as the competition for food stiffens, it won’t be soon before long that these whales are preyed upon by their predators.
So, how do whales die? Whether it’s whales, dolphins, or any marine creature, they are all susceptible to manmade threats such as catching, overfishing, pollution, and a lot more. We can still do plenty of things to conserve what we already have and take back what was once a lost cause.
With your voice and a little bit of action into it, you are paving the way for these marine creatures to have a future ahead of them. Let it be known that each of them is important and has a role to play in our ocean. Be the voice and spark the movement.
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