Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Fun Narwhal Whale Facts and How You Can Save Them

Narwhal whales are best known for their long unicorn like tusk, which is actually a tooth! If you see a narwhal whale with a long tooth you know it's a male, since female narwhals have a much smaller tooth. Scientists are not sure what function the long tooth serves but it may be used as a weapon, mating, to establish dominance or for channeling solar pulses. I don't think any of my teeth have those abilities!

Despite their long tooth, narwhal whales are preyed upon by polar bears, orcas and hunted for subsistence by Inuits. I'm guessing they must be pretty hungry to go after such a large whale with a gigantic tooth! If you have never been to the Arctic waters where narwhal whales live, you probably have never seen a narwhal whale since they don't do well in captivity. Listen to a Narwhal Whale. Source/more info: Defenders of Wildlife: Narwhal.

Why Narwhal Whales Need Our Help
Narwhal's have long been called the "ivory of the Arctic" and hunted for their long tooth. They are not currently at risk for extinction with estimates of 45,000 - 50,000 narwhals, but they could be if trade for their parts continues. The U.S. and Mexico ban imports of all marine mammal products but many other countries do not which could endanger the narwhal whale, along with many other marine mammals. Source: National Geographic: Hunting Narwhals

Help Save Narwhal Whales

Narwhal whale photo courtesy of: Whale Release and Stranding Newfoundland and Labrador