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15 Threats to Marine Mammals – Conservation

by Stephanie

We never realize that everything that we thought is beneficial could lead us into some problem. Taking an example, we throw a plastic bag into the sea, maybe it just one small plastic bag but maybe it could kill a sea turtle who think that the plastic bag is a jellyfish, its food.

Then, we will never know that either the turtle is pregnant and we kill the turtle and its babies or not. There are a lot of things that became a serious threat to animals.

Especially, marine animals. Mostly marine animals are breath using its gills, but there are also some marine animals that breathe using its lungs. And we knew it as marine mammals. Marine mammals, are animal who lives in the sea just like any other fish but using its lungs to breathe. Another characteristic of marine mammals are they do not spawn, and they are breastfeeding their babies.

And in this article I would like to inform you about some threats to marine mammals. All of the treats are done by humans without we realize it before.

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1. Trawling 

The using of trawl has been banned by the government in almost all country in the world. The using of trawl is not only could make the big fish being catch but also the small fish that not even ready to be consumed by human because of its age and size. Luckily this action is already being banned, if it isn’t then all population of marine animals will be extinct. And not often you will find shark babies inside the trawl that has been brought by the fisherman. This means that this kind of action could decreasing the population of marine mammals.

Thus, the fisherman doesn’t give a chance for the marine mammals’s babies to grow up and live. Not only that, in some cases the trawl is down to the sea, and no one take it back to the ship. This trawl that has been left in the sea could make some marine mammals babies trapped in it and could not release its own self. Days by days, nights by nights and until the marine mammals that trapped in the trawl death because of hunger.

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2. Waste Emission from Ship 

Ship is the other factor that became the threats to marine mammals. During the sail in the sea and open ocean, ship could throw some emission to the outside. Where this kind of emission is bad for the last of the marine mammals. The emission could take a shape as oil and gas. The oil could pollute the sea water and became a toxic for all water animals including the marine mammals. Thus, oil is used and made for machine it won’t suit with living beings’s body. So when the oil starts polluting the sea water and there is a marine mammals consume it, surely the mammals will die.

Besides, the gas could pollute the air and became a toxic for marine mammals, because they will show up to the sea water surface and inhale the air to keep them alive. If the polluted air could make a lung cancer to human, I believe the same bad impact could be happened to the marine mammals. And if this still happens, we can hurt more marine mammals and lead them to their own grave.

3. Ship Strike

If you love to see some documentary film, or go to the sea to see marine mammals directly, you will find some marine mammals with scratches scars. Besides the predation in the wild life mostly, their scratches scars is caused by the ship. The ship that go too fast sometimes do not see that there are occur some marine mammals in front of them. Usually, the ship will just hit the marine mammals without they realize it. Or in another case the marine mammals are going to the sea water surface, and without they realize there is a ship that go so fast and hit them.

In some cases, this things also may caused the death of the marine mammals because the ship hit them too hard. The severe injuries that couldn’t be heal in a short period of time kill these marine mammals. Or even though it could be heal, the injured marine mammals will be a prey for another predator because they are less strong than before.

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4. Acoustic Pollution 

The reason why marine mammals could hit the ship and get injured is because of the acoustic pollution. We know that marine mammals like shark, dolphin, and whale are suing radar or navigation to know what is in front of them. Their navigation also has the same function as the airplane navigation that lead the plane from one place to another place. The increasing level of ship in the sea and also the technology development for ship by using drilling rigs, radar, sonar, and navigation are disturbing these marine mammals navigation. Thus, they can’t navigate a place or an object clearly, they will usually get hit by the ship.

Then, nowadays, as far as I know fisherman using a new technology of sonar to attract marine mammals to the fisherman place. So the fisherman could catch the marine mammals easier, because the mammals come to them.

5. Illegal Hunting

Meat, skin, fins, tusk, and oil are some things that the hunter or fisherman look for in marine mammals. Because those things are expensive and the demands are also high. Because of this, many fisherman look for the marine mammals and try to kill them to gain benefit even there is a rule that prohibit them to hunt the marine mammals.

They basically know that if they hunt the marine mammals they could decrease the marine mammals population. But money has a higher value for them, it will be better that they could catch marine mammals as many as possible than let the other fisherman catch the mammals. Their logic be like if they can catch more marine mammals means there will be more money.

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6. Habitat Loss

Habitat lost is not only caused by the natural disaster, but also human error. Human act of polluting the air through their vehicle, or the factory smoke could increase the carbon dioxide in the air and caused the global warming in ocean and because of the effects of greenhouse, carbon dioxide is trapped on earth and may caused the ice at the poles melt. Not all of the marine mammals has the high ability to adapt with their new habitat after their old habitat is lost. When they couldn’t adapt with the new habitat, it isn’t possible that they could die. The lost of their habitat means they are also lost of their common food. And this could leads them to death.

The other habitat loss may caused by the fisherman who catch the fish using a bomb. The using of bomb kill the fish and coral reef. Some species of fish that live in the coral reef are prey to marine mammals. It means, when there’s a fisheries that destroy one habitat it could increasing the change of marine mammals to death. And the thing that you should know is that the habitat lost became the biggest factor that is responsible to the marine mammals death.

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7. Entertainment

When you go to the zoo you will see many animals is trained and do some action to amuse you. Even though it is fun but this kind of entertainment became the threats to marine mammals. Why so? Because they live the life that is not their real life, which is in the wild. Taking an example of dolphin that you usually meet in the zoo. In the wild dolphins live together in a group but in the zoo or captivity they only live up to three individual in a group. Their life span in the captivity are also shorter compare to the wildlife. Because in the wildlife their life is free but in the captivity their life is depends on the trainee.

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8. Tourism

The first thing that you’ll look up when you visit somewhere new of course the uniqueness from that place. Such as, food, recreation place, and souvenirs. Our tourism activity can be dangerous for the marine mammals when we eat and buy some products made from marine mammals. Maybe you will be served whale meat or shark meat as the menu.

When you want to go back home, you will look for some souvenirs to be brought home. In some area, the local inhabitant is made souvenirs from shark teeth, tugs, bone, an etc. You have to be a smart tourist, when no more people buy such things, surely the local inhabitants will stop the haunting and trying to think another thing that could produce them money.

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9. Culinary 

The people in China believe that eating cat meat could make their body warmer during the winter. In some area, people also believed that eating snake meat could increase their stamina. The same thing also believed that shark meat could increase the stamina. This kind of believed of some wild animals make the demand of culinary based on their meat is high. Moreover, many people are so challenged when they hear a new and strange menu that they’ve never tasted before.

10. Climate Change

Do you know that seal in the pole using the ice as a place to hide from the orcas? If the climate change, and the world become hotter than before and the ice melt, surely the population of seal will be decreasing so significant. Besides the predation, the hotter temperature make them suffer and this could lead them to death.

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11. Agricultural Runoff

To prevent their plant from pest and another disadvantageous bug, farmer use pesticide and chemical fertilizer. The use of those two thing aren’t only to prevent the pest but also to fertilize the plant. The problem is that, the use of this chemical fertilizer and pesticide could polluting the soil. The polluted soil will polluting the water cycle when the rain comes.

The rainwater will carry away the pesticide and chemical fertilizer to the closest river. The river current will carry the rainwater that contain the chemical substance to the sea. Every path of water cycle will end in the sea. When the chemical substance reach the sea, every fish including marine mammals that feed on by opening their mouth and suck the sea water could poisoned by the chemical substance.

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12. Industrial Activity

Industrial activity such as fish factory can also disturb the marine mammals. Since the factory is built near the sea means the factory’s worker can gain more fish efficiently and in a fresh condition. The faster they catch the fish, the faster they decrease the prey for marine mammals. Besides that, the waste such as the fish blood and etc that thrown to the sea can be a trap for marine mammals. They smell blood and thought it as their prey but it isn’t, it just a blood.

Mining activity also disturbing their navigation because the noisy mining. Besides that, when the high seas mining is leak, the oil could pollute and kill many living beings in the sea.

13. Floating House and Market

Because of the sea is wider than the land, then no wonder that many people is relied on the sea to collect some amount of money. That’s why, no wonder that many floating house and market around the sea and river in some places. The existence of floating house and market is blocking the sunlight to enter to sea. Besides, the sea plants need the sunlight to do photosynthesis to produce food for its own self and another water animal.

When the lowest level of food chain is disturbed of course the whole system of food chain will also disturbed.

14. Aquaculture

Farmer use a technique such as aquaculture to produce more fish suit with the market demand. The problem is that, the using of aquaculture also may be dangerous for the wild marine mammals. The farmer need some amount of chemicals to make the harvest successful. Besides that, the farmer also use circulating system. So the use of aquaculture could release come amount of chemical substance to the wild.

15. Littering The Sea

When we can’t find trash can around the coast or sea, we simply throw the trash everywhere. Don’t you know that this might be dangerous for marine mammals especially whales? Littering the sea by plastic trash and another small synthesis trash can kill the whales, since the trash can enter the respiratory hole in the whale head.

Back again, all the damage in our planet is caused by our own self. Because we are too greedy and we only think about the short term benefit that we could get. I know that they are only animal, and not more that but please threat them well because they are also became our food, and we have to appreciate their sacrificial. So this is the end of today’s article of threats to marine mammals. Hopefully this article could inspire you more to save the environment. Thank you for keep reading this article until the end which means you do really concern about our marine mammals. And do not forget to keep updating the information of ocean with us!

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