There are many cases of ocean pollution that are caused by humans. Indeed, humans are the main contributors for giving more toxic pollutants into the ocean water. Although we are far from the pollutants, they end up harming most marine creatures in the ocean. One of these marine creatures is the whales. Whales are majestic creatures that have been around Earth for a long time. Now they are threatened by pollution. Read on these 20 Ocean Pollution Effects on Whales to know what dangers they are facing.
1. Ruined Habitat
There is a high possibility that whales will lose their homes due to all kinds of ocean pollution. Whales need certain ocean temperature to survive. A drastic change in temperature can make the habitat become inhabitable. Moreover, a habitat that is full of waste would not be ideal as the waste release toxins and other harmful chemicals to the surrounding area underwater.
2. Disturbing Whales
Noise pollution is a common type of pollution in the ocean. Human activities such as shipping or oil drilling can cause an overload of noise. Although humans might be unbothered, whales are very sensitive to the noise. They have a certain ability called echolocation whereby they emit sonar to find food or swim. The noise disturb this ability that they have.
3. Death Through Entanglement
Plastic pollution comes in all sorts of forms and sizes. They do not degrade at a fast rate. On average, a plastic needs at least 400 years to completely break down. Before reaching that point, most plastic waste float in the ocean. A whale may swim into a plastic bag and become entangled. The inability to release itself from the entanglement can result in death.
Malnutrition also relates to plastic waste. Whales may mistaken a plastic waste for food. Moreover, they may eat other waste such as car or bicycle parts by mistake. Once they eat these materials, they may feel full. But they do not realise that what they’re eating do not benefit them at all. They lack the nutrients that they need to survive.
5. Lowers Life Expectancy
Whales are known to have a long life period. Some species of whale live longer than the others. A whale may live for only 30 years like the Killer Whales. But some can survive for more than 100 years such as the Blue Whales. Unfortunately, all those life expectancy will experience a cut due to the ocean pollution. Now, whales may only live at half of those years.
6. Toxic Carcass
Due to all the toxic chemicals from ocean pollution, the body of a whale may become highly toxic. This does not only apply when it is alive. The toxicity of its body also lasts after it is dead. A whale that has been affected from all the pollution will leave behind a deadly toxic carcass which must be handled carefully.
7. Whale Disease
An unhealthy ocean will create a condition where diseases will flourish. The whales will be affected with more diseases because of a poor ocean that is full of pollution. They may even get attacked by more ocean parasites too. For example, the crassicaudosis parasite may negatively affect a whale’s health and its ability to recover.
8. Less Food Availability
Pollution in the ocean affects everything in it. Both marine plants and animals suffer from the toxic disaster. This is bad news for the whales since the food chain will experience a major change. Some marine fish may not have the ability to survive the toxic ocean and die. As a result, the whales will have less food availability which could lead to starvation and death.
9. Triggers Cancer
The poor ocean environment that is polluted can trigger cancer in whales. There have been so many cases of some whale species experiencing cancer. For instance, there have been some Beluga whales with intestinal cancer. Moreover, some also have skin cancer called melanoma. The ocean pollution makes all these types of cancer more frequent in whales.
10. Change in Reproduction Pattern
Whales may experience a change in their reproduction pattern. The disturbed environment, the toxic water and the noise disturbance can all contribute to the way they produce. They may find it difficult to find the right time and the right environment to reproduce because of all those things.
11. Reduce Population
Whales will have a huge reduction in their population as the pollution in the sea water becomes worse. Reportedly, the first born calf from a whale has less chance to survive. The milk it receives from its mother is toxic and causes it to die. Other than that, the whale population becomes less from the waste and the harmful chemicals they come across.
12. Lowers Immunity
Toxic environment can also negatively affect the immune system of the whales. Poor diet will make it hard for the whales to have proper nutrients in their body. Thus, their bodies will also have weakened immune system that makes them vulnerable to diseases.
A prolonged ocean pollution can certainly lead the whales to their extinction. Whales will find it harder and harder to survive in the harsh environment. Less reproduction and more death will drive them to their ultimate demise. In the future, there could be no more whales swimming freely in the ocean.
More Effects from Ocean Pollution on Whales (14-20)
Below are more effects on whales caused by ocean pollution:
- Change in Migration: Find other suitable environment.
- Toxic Sea Water for Swimming: Uncomfortable swimming environment.
- Interrupts Normal Behaviour: Must adapt due to pollution.
- Changing Diet: Whales must find other creatures available to eat.
- Injuring Whales: Injury from metal waste.
- Stress: Caused by a dirty marine ecosystem.
- Stranded Whales on Beaches: Early death from starvation.
Whales are creatures that must be saved. They play an important role in the ecosystem. Humans must continuously act to save them. Always keep waste away from the ocean to lessen the intensity of the ocean pollution.