Copyright

Why Are Blue Whales Endangered? - Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Jenny Homer

Jenny has masters' degrees in public health and public administration.

In this lesson, we'll learn about the biggest animal in the world, the blue whale. Find out why these amazing creatures became endangered and what threats they face today.

What Is the Blue Whale?

Did you know that there is a living thing on Earth today that is heavier than the biggest dinosaur and as long as a full-size basketball court? This incredible animal is the blue whale!

Because they're mammals, blue whales can't breathe underwater and have to come to the top of the water to breathe air. Blue whales eat enormous amount of krill, a tiny animal similar to shrimp. When blue whales eat they first take a giant gulp of water that's full of krill. Their tongue pushes the water out, while baleen plates (pieces of fringe in their mouth) hold the krill in.

Blue whales live in colder waters during the summer and swim to warmer waters in the winter. Today there are between 10,000 and 25,000 blue whales in the world's oceans. These may seem like big numbers, but blue whales are endangered. Since the late 1800s, several hundred thousand have died because of activities by people.

Size of a blue whale
null

Whaling

Whaling is hunting and killing whales. The speed and weight of blue whales made it hard for whalers to catch them at first. But in the early 1900s, whalers designed new weapons and tools, and they began catching thousands of blue whales every year.

Whaling became a big business, where people wanted whale oil to use for soap, candles, lamps, and margarine. They used other parts for meat and fertilizer. In 1966, the International Whaling Commission made it illegal to hunt blue whales.

Blue whale
null

Threats Today to Blue Whales

Whaling is illegal today, but blue whales face other threats. They are:

  • Boats - Blue whales can be killed or injured if they are hit by boats. In 2007, three blue whales died in a very short period of time near California after being hit by boats.
  • Noise pollution - Blue whales make loud noises to communicate with each other from very far away. Unfortunately, people also make a lot of noise (anthropogenic noise) with their boats and when drilling for oil and gas. It may be harder for blue whales to hear each other because of anthropogenic noise.
  • Bycatch - Blue whales can be hurt when they get tangled up in fishing lines used to catch other kinds of fish.
  • Climate change - Warmer temperatures in the ocean may affect the number of krill blue whales have to eat.
  • Pollution - Chemicals that people dump in the ocean can make blue whales sick or ruin the water where blue whales swim.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account
Support