Updated: Jun 2, 2019
The naming of species can be varied and based on numerous factors such as being named after the person who discovered them, by the behaviour of the animal, or the location where it is found. For one family of whales the name given to them is more sinister.
Right whales were named as such simply because they were considered to be the ‘right’ whales to hunt. The species live within sight of the shore, float when they are killed and are tolerant of, and often approach boats, all of which made them easier to kill. Commercial hunting has devastated all three species of right whale and although it has been over 30 years since the international ban on commercial whaling, populations remain low.
Nowadays the main threat to right whales (and all cetaceans) is entanglement in commercial fishing gear. There is however some hope for these migrating whales. The North Atlantic Right Whale is slowly bouncing back, there are thought to be only 411 individuals left, but already in 2019 seven calves have been seen. We welcome this positive news however, we also call for greater protection for our oceans and all the species found within them. We would like to see more marine protected areas in which fishing is not permitted (especially in areas where whales migrate).
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