World Whale Day: Objective is to increase public knowledge of these amazing creatures

Staff Reporter

World Whale Day is celebrated on February 19, each year. The objective is to increase public knowledge of these amazing creatures, their beauty, and the ecological importance of what they contribute to the earth.

The aquatic mammals belonging to the order Cetacea. The term 'whale' can be used in reference to any cetacean, including porpoises and dolphins, but in general it is applied to those more than 3 metres (10 feet) long.

Whales have two categories: toothed whales and baleen whales. Instead of teeth, baleen whales have fibrous plates in their mouths that help them filter out sea items such as plankton, krill, and crustaceans. Toothed whales can feed on larger prey such as squid or fish.

World Whale Day was founded in Maui, Hawaii, in 1980 to honor humpback whales, which swim off the coast of this tropical island. This day was started as an idea by Greg Kauffman, founder of the Pacific Whale Foundation, to raise awareness about the threat of extinction faced by humpback whales.

Here are 7 fascinating facts about whales:

Whales are extremely intelligent and are believed to experience a variety of feelings, similar to those of humans.

Many different species of whales communicate with each other by using sounds and even songs within their communities.

While whales do shut their bodies down, only half their minds stay at rest.

The Antarctic blue whale is the largest animal on the planet, weighing up to 200 tons (approximately 33 elephants) and reaching up to 30 metres in length. They can consume about 3,600kg of krill a day!

Humpback whales only eat for a small part of the year. Their fat stores keep them healthy for around 6-7 months while they are in the process of migrating to the Antarctic from their tropical breeding areas.

Killer whales are actually dolphins.

Humpback whales are known to sing complex songs.

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