15 Jan '12, 10pm
Defender of the Seas
The Japanese fleet’s expected whale kill for 2011 was to be 900 minke and 50 fin whales. The naturally curious minke whale, which lives in every climate from tropical to frigid, is the smallest baleen whale and known for its series of vocalizations, including grunts, thumps and “boings.” The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports that the population of minkes appears to be stable, but acknowledges that “Minke whale populations in the western North Pacific and the northeastern North Atlantic may have been reduced by as much as half due to commercial whaling practices.” When it comes to the magnificent fin whale, a sleek, swift creature that can reach up to 160,000 pounds and live 80-90 years, there is no question as to its threatened status. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has listed the fin whale as an endangered species—meaning it faces a very high ris...