Anonim

Shy, but curious. Fast swimmer, despite the almost 10 meters long, and above all very agile. Like a dancer.

This is the Northern whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata), one of the smallest (so to speak) whale species. It is usually difficult to approach, but some curious individuals "scour" the areas where there are boats, approaching without warning and swimming for a long time next to the boats. They are so quick that they can jump completely out of the water, like dolphins. And they launch into "dances" outside and inside the water that leave the lucky spectators astonished. As has happened to the researchers of an oceanographic ship who have photographed this specimen in the Pacific Ocean.

This specimen of Southern Right Whale (Eubalaena australis), which wallows in the waters in front of Brazil, reached in search of warm currents from the Antarctic, has a particularly rare characteristic: it is albino.

This genetic defect causes the complete absence of colors in the body. It is a "recessive" defect, which is manifested whether both forms of genes (alleles) present in the cells are defective. Albinism produces the lack of all pigments and in particular of melanin, the substance that determines the dark color of skin, hair and mucous membranes.

Photo: © AP Photo

The beluga (Delphinapterus leucas), also known as white whale, is a cetacean that is distinguished by the particular conformation of the head: since the vertebrae of the neck are not glued together, in fact, it is the only whale able to rotate the head . So when it emerges from the water it looks like a periscope that looks around …

The belugas live in groups of 15-20 individuals, but sometimes they gather in herds of hundreds or even thousands. They prefer the cold waters of the Arctic coasts of Europe and North America, but they move into rivers of fresh water to give birth.

SPLASH is not just the sound of diving into the sea of ​​a beautiful specimen of humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae). This is also the name of the ambitious project concerning these cetaceans, inaugurated by the American body for research on the ocean and the atmosphere, the NOAA. The project - whose name stands for "Structure of Populations, Level of Abundance and Status of Humpbacks" - will monitor the life of this cetacean in danger of extinction in the waters of the North Pacific Ocean. Hence the concrete possibility of stopping the progressive decrease in its population, which reached a height of 7, 000 in 1992: in 1973 it was already considered an endangered species with a population of 15, 000 cetaceans. To listen to the underwater songs of humpback whales during mating, we refer you to the " Music of nature " Focus File. © NOAA

Full of scratches but still whole. These belugas (Delphinapterus leucas) have escaped it beautifully, they have just survived the attack of a polar bear. Will their cries have been to save them? Maybe. The belugas, widespread cetaceans in the arctic seas, are among the most chatty marine mammals, communicating with acute vocalizations similar to a chirping, so as to be nicknamed "sea canaries". Even though they have little in common with the tonnage with canaries, they are about 4 meters long and even weigh up to 1, 500 kilos! Discover many other curiosities about cetaceans
See also the slideshow dedicated to white and albino animals
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Humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) use their songs and their verses (listen to them, in the multimedia dedicated to " Sounds of nature ") to communicate hundreds of kilometers away. It is these songs in the ocean that help, for example, the specimens that lose their way to find their way back to the pack. Today scientists have verified that the amount of noise produced by men doubles every ten years, becoming particularly strong near the coasts, where whales feed and where their migratory routes pass. Furthermore, it covers the calls of males against females, preventing them from finding a mate.

Colin did not make it, the whale that, abandoned by her mother, sucked from the straps of the yachts anchored in the bay of Sydney hoping to be nursed by them (watch the video).

The local veterinarians, certain that the baby whale was now too weak to survive, brought it down on Friday practicing a lethal injection.

The protests of a group of animalists who were planning an artificial feeding system for the baby were of no use.

Colin, badly wounded perhaps by a shark attack, had refused to sail for five days. Not even the intervention of an aboriginal "whale whisperer" - who decorated with feathers on his head tried to communicate with the puppy by singing a strange melody - convinced the humpback whale to seek salvation.

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Tradition and religious superstition are mixed on the occasion of whaling that off the coast of Lamalera, in the southern part of the island of Lombata, in eastern Indonesia, is the only form of sustenance for a land of volcanic origin and therefore sterile.

A whale - up to 30 tons of meat, blood and marrow, of which nothing is thrown away during the severe slaughter ritual - manages to feed the entire village of 2, 000 people for two months.

The approximately 150 whale hunters, who face the sperm whales with rudimentary harpoons on small sailboats built with sophisticated craftsmanship and a good dose of superstition, take from the sea only what they need (no more than a dozen specimens per year).

This picture taken by a Greenpeace photographer shows a whale being slaughtered on the dock in Hvalfjšrour (Iceland). This is the first common whale, a specimen about 20 meters long, killed by the Icelanders for commercial reasons, after the Reykjavík government announced the resumption of the hunt for these giants of the sea, in disregard of the international ban that for several years now guaranteed a relatively quiet life to these mammals.

Whaling - according to many - is not only anti-ecological but anti-economic: the damage to the image and the flight of tourists caused by the reopening of this questionable hunt can hardly be covered by the proceeds from the sale of whale meat that is no longer not even consumed in the Scandinavian countries (it was considered the dish of the poor during World War II, while today it collects the favors of Japanese gourmets).

The new Icelandic laws foresee, after a stop of 16 years, the killing of 30 minke whales and 9 whales within August 2007.

Photo: © Greenpeace / Axelsson.

What is an inflatable whale doing in the middle of the political center of Valparaiso, Chile? The members of Greenpeace, who last August found this unusual location to protest against hunting and illegal whale trafficking, know something about it.

The activists have formally asked the local government to declare the Chilean jurisdictional waters "sanctuary of the whales": an area, that is, where all forms of commercial hunting are banned for cetaceans in danger of extinction.

Not far from Chile and Argentina, among other things, there is one of these sanctuaries, that of the Southern Ocean. A reserve that covers 50 million square kilometers around the Antarctic continent which unfortunately has already been violated last January by some Japanese whaling ships.

The baby whale that moved Sydney (watch the video)
When the whales walked
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In Sydney, Australia, a few days ago some environmentalists mobilized to safeguard the whales, drawing this huge human writing on the beach. In Japan cetacean hunting has just been reopened, officially for scientific purposes, actually for commercial reasons. A ploy to violate the international moratorium in force since 1986. Whale meat, in fact, is a delicious dish, required in many Japanese restaurants. Greenpeace has been active on this front for a long time, promoting various initiatives to raise awareness of the international public opinion on the issue. One of these was also attended by Focus Junior . As part of the "Let's name the Whale" project - one of the whales that will be followed by satellite by researchers to study their movements - the children of the online community have proposed Aiko ("little love" in Japanese). The name has been selected and the votes for the most beautiful are open.
Vote for yourself too .
Want to learn more about the project?

If these two nice belugas (Delphinapterus leucas) spray jets of water out of the water it is not just for an irrepressible desire to play. Some ethologists maintain that behind this behavior there is the need to expel the sand they swallow together with the crustaceans fished on the seabed. Since these cetaceans do not have many sharp teeth to catch the prey, all they eat - crabs, prawns, bivalve molluscs, but also octopus, squid and smaller fish - is swallowed whole. In their stomachs stones, plants and algae have been found together with the food in a single "sip". Other scholars believe that the water spits, directed towards the prey, are used by the belugas to move the booty from the bottom.

The most beautiful pictures of whales in this gallery (see)

You might also like: Eye to the whale: the Whale Watching map The strange case of the humpback whale Watch out for sketches! Why do whales have "scabs" … and dolphins don't? Shy, but curious. Fast swimmer, despite the almost 10 meters long, and above all very agile. Like a dancer.
This is the Northern whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata), one of the smallest (so to speak) whale species. It is usually difficult to approach, but some curious individuals "scour" the areas where there are boats, approaching without warning and swimming for a long time next to the boats. They are so quick that they can jump completely out of the water, like dolphins. And they launch into "dances" outside and inside the water that leave the lucky spectators astonished. As has happened to the researchers of an oceanographic ship who have photographed this specimen in the Pacific Ocean.