World Whale Day is celebrated on February 18 around the globe with the sole purpose to raise awareness of these magnificent creatures, these marine giants and their underwater habitats.
Whales are creatures that belong to the order Cetacea which also includes dolphins and porpoises.
Further, whales are divided into two suborders: baleen and toothed whales. The baleen whales have a comb-like fringe (the baleen) positioned on the upper jaw. They are the largest species of whales. The toothed whales have teeth and they prey on fish, squid, other small whales, and marine mammals.
Whales use echolocation to sense their surroundings.
This annual holiday was created in 1980 in Maui, the second largest island in Hawaii, as the main showcase of the Maui Whale Festival. The festival was organized to honor the Humpback whales that swim off of the coast and to raise awareness to protect the species and the waters in which they live.
The whales need more protection today than ever. Recently, over 400 whales washed on the beaches of New Zealand, and around 275 Pilot Whales have died on the shores of Farewell Spit… All these tragic events could be stopped if people will have more respect for nature.
It is absolutely necessary to put a spotlight on the greater good and to do our part to raise awareness of the threats that are preventable. We sure need to stop commercial whaling, we need to stop ship strikes, we have to be aware of the part climate change has in this, and of course all the cumulative threats like marine debris, oil and gas development, recreation boats and noise pollution. All these factors play key roles in whale welfare.
Facts about the whales:
* Whales, just like other mammals, breathe air
* Whales are warm-blooded animals, feed their young with milk and have very little hair.
* Under the skin, they have a thick layer of fat called blubber. Its purpose is insulation and energy reservoir.
* Gestation period: 9-15 months (depends on the species)
* Number of offspring: 1
* Nursing time: 1 year or more
* There are over 80 species of whales
* While they sleep, one half of the brain sleeps too while the other makes sure they breathe.
* Whales can swim as fast as 30 miles per hour.