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What Is A Fin Whale?
The Fin Whale is the second largest whale in the world measuring up to anywhere between 60 to 90 feet long, and weighing in at approximately 50 to 130 tons. The Fin Whales dorsal fin is placed 2/3rd's of the way down their back making sightings of them easier to distinguish from other whales. They are a mix of grey/blue colour with a white underside. One of the most unusual markings being that the left side of their jaw is black, while the right side of the jaw is white.
They are a baleen whale meaning their diet consists of mainly krill, squid, and fish as much as 4,000 pounds in a single day. When they take a mouthful the lower area of their jaw expands as it is filled with water and various food. The water is filtered out back into the ocean.
Despite how large they are, they are slim allowing them to travel with short bursts of speed of approximately 25 miles an hour, which is faster than most ships. They are capable of jumping COMPLETELY out of the water, and diving up to 1800 feet below the surface.
These beautiful whales are currently listed as an endangered species with a population estimate of approximately 100,000. They are currently listed as a protected species by the International Whaling Commission as of 1966.
Where Are They Found?
They can be found in all of the worlds oceans. There are actually two types of Fin Whales, one that is believed to exist in cooler waters near the arctic. The other found in warmer waters such as the Gulf of California, and the Coral Triangle. Their numbers are largely unknown outside of the northern Atlantic ocean.
Their migration patterns are still largely unknown due to their unpredictability. However they can be found during mating and calving season in subtropical waters during the winter months. They travel to the Arctic and Antarctic in the summer months for feeding.
They are fairly solitary like most baleen whales preferring to be alone or in pods up to 10. Only during mating season can they be found in larger pods of up to 100.
Reproduction and Lifespan
Breeding once every 3 to 4 years in warmer waters during mating season, female whales carry their young for a full year before giving birth. Usually having only one off-spring, rarely have there been times of a mother Fin Whale with twins. It takes close to 30 years for the young to reach full maturity, and they can live up to 90 years and perhaps even longer.
There have been documents of Blue Whale and Fin Whale hybrids located around the world.
Why Are They Endangered?
Naturally they don't have any predators other than the killer-whale. Otherwise humans are their main concern with survival. With water pollution seeming to be always on the rise, global warming, over fishing, and collisions with ships.
These whales are still hunted by both Japan and Iceland being the only two countries in the entire world still hunting them. In 2013 Iceland alone had a yearly quota of a little over 180. The International Whaling Commission has recognized their defiance of the ban on fishing them considering their endangered species status, but so far nothing has been done about it.