Marine mammals (whales, dolphins, seals, sea lions, and polar bears) seem to tug on our emotions whether it’s wonder at how high their massive bodies can jump out of the water or sadness when we see harm come to these magnificent mammals. Either way, there is something about marine mammals that make them an iconic species. They are also an iconic species in conservation.
Their huge bodies travel thousands of miles every year, from the tropics to the arctic and back again. They travel over many different habitats feeding and breeding in specific areas. Their protection, ideally, would protect the habitats for which they pass on their long journey. Unfortunately, that is not the case most of the time.
Marine mammals are facing multiple issues that can cause a species decline in abundance driving them close to extinction. Humpback whales are an example. The whales were heavily hunted to record lows of 5,000 individuals. In the 1960s, the International Whaling Commission banned hunting of the humpback whales and the species is making a recovery. Their numbers are still quite low, but they are recovering.
There are more species that need our help and I always wondered how we as a community could do more to protect these species. To answer this question, I asked Dr. Chris Parsons who is an expert in Marine Mammal Policy to come on the podcast to help guide the Speak Up For Blue community to better protect marine mammals.