Whale songs spread like pop music around the ocean. If one whale’s song is catchy enough, it will be adopted by other whales, rising in popularity until a new song catches on.Take Action ↓
For generations, whales, dolphins, and other marine mammals have captured the imaginations and affections of people around the world.
Totem poles made by Native American tribes in the North Pacific often feature sea otters, who were honored as sacred messengers between humans and the creator. In Ancient Greece, killing a dolphin was punishable by death. During the Middle Ages, narwhal tusks were gifted to royalty, passed off as rare unicorn horns. Many Thai people still believe that a dugong’s tears can form a powerful love potion. Perhaps the reason so many myths and legends surround marine mammals is because they seem so human.
“Cultures have long heard wisdom in non-human voices. But dolphins, which fill the oceans with blipping and chirping, and whales, which mew and caw in ultramarine jazz – a true rhapsody in blue – are hunted to the edge of silence.” Jay Griffiths
Over 2,400 years ago, Aristotle recognized that whales are mammals, not fish, because they breathe air and nurse their young. Since then, we’ve discovered more and more connections between ourselves and these ocean giants. We’ve learned that marine mammals develop individual personalities, that they experience compassion, that certain species have complex social hierarchies, and that they mourn their dead. Despite being icons of our blue planet, marine mammals still retain a mysterious nature.
Marine mammals have so much to teach us, especially when it comes to ocean health. At the top of the food chain, walruses, seals, and the like are important indicators of pollution and declining fish populations. Yet, many species are on the brink of extinction. Centuries of aggressive hunting, combined with extensive habitat loss, reckless shipping, and noise pollution have reduced marine mammal populations to just a fraction of their original numbers. Currently, over 25% of marine mammals species are threatened with extinction, with sufficient data lacking on an additional 30%. Slow to mature and reproduce, marine mammals cannot bounce back like other sea creatures— still, a balanced ocean depends on their existence.
Migrating vast distances, marine mammals are the great connectors of our blue planet, and protecting them requires global action along a united front. Protecting our ocean giants is bigger than any one of us.