It's Whale of a Study Time! Find out about "Things you can do" to protect our oceans, bees, rainforests and much more...
Survival of the fittest… What does it really mean? "Peaceful coexistence, not struggle, is the rule in our Darwinian world. A perfectly fashioned individual of a Darwinian species is programmed for a specialised life to be spent for the most part safe from competition with neighbours of other kinds. Natural selection is harsh only to the deviant aggressor who seeks to poach on the niche of another. The peaceful coexistence between species, which results from evolution by natural selection, has to be understood as an important fact in the workings of the great ecosystems around us." Paul Colinvaux, Why Big Fierce AnimalsAre Rare
Many species have been perceived as endangered because of hunting, habitat loss and degradation, chemical and noise pollution, human-induced climate change, unmonitored by-catches, poaching, accidents and disturbance and the pressure on the environment because of the rapid world population growth. Find out about endangered species and ecosystems and learn about some of the most critically endangered animals and plants in the world - listed in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Click on the slide images (below) to read more about their threats and conservation efforts.
Estimated numbers: 300
Threats: This species is subject to very high rates of habitat loss and is heavily hunted
Threats: Unsustainable Fishing Methods, Entanglement in fishing gear, status as "goddess of the river" was denounced and baiji skin was used to produce handbags and gloves, Longlines with thousands of unbaited hooks used for snagging bottom fish, hook remains are sometimes found in the stomachs of dead animals (Lin et al. 1985, Zhou and Li 1989). Deaths also result from entanglement in gill and fyke nets, Electric fishing, although "strictly banned" in the Yangtze, is widely practiced, Propeller strikes, Explosives, used to deepen or widen river channels or for fishing, Water development has transformed the baiji's habitat in important ways, e.g., by interrupting their movements upstream of dams, eliminating their access to tributaries and appended lakes, and reducing fish productivity, Industrial expansion and intensified agriculture , Pollutant loads in the Yangtze
Threats: Specific threats include exotic pathogens such as Phytophthora cinnamonii, the introduction of exotic weeds, trampling and other forms of disturbance associated with unauthorised access. Intense catastrophic fires are a significant threat. Changes in rainfall and temperature patterns associated with climate change represent further potential threats
Threats: dramatic reduction in its distributional range immediately after the 1982-83 El Niño event suggests that this species is particularly sensitive to thermal anomalies
Threats: Deforestation, Hunting
Threats: Habitat loss, Poaching for skin and bones
Estimated numbers: 4,000 to 6,000 left in Sumatra (compared to about 10,000 in 1996) Experts estimate orangutans could be extinct in the wild in as few as 10 years
Threats: Deforestation, Habitat loss, Logging, Expansion of Palmoil plantations, mining, killed and injured as treated as "pest"
Threats: Listed as Critically Endangered given that it is known from a single site and threat-defined location, with an Extent of Occurrence estimated to be 200 m2, and a continuing decline of its natural habitat in the Peak Wilderness Sanctuary of Central Province, Sri Lanka.
Threats: human activities, either by direct killing of individuals or by habitat modification, dams seriously threat this species, habitat modification and impeding the migration of the host fish, river regulation, dredging, water pollution and pesticides and water availability are among the most important reasons decline. Irrational water use in the area is behind all these problems.
Estimated numbers: only 7 Northern white rhinos left in the world today, and only 4 of them are fertile. Souther white rhinos: 14,500
Threats: Poaching for its horn
Threats: Overfishing, intensively fished since the early 1950s, there is no sign that the spawning stock is rebuilding. Implementation of effective conservation and management measures are urgently needed.
Threats: collected and traded in the Americas as aquarium fishes, folk medicine, curiosities and for religious purposes, bycatch, degradation of its seagrass habitats
Threats: largely as a result of feeding on carcasses of animals treated with the veterinary drug diclofenac
Threats: a relatively large human population that has converted virtually all of the primary habitat to some form of human use, hunting for food
Threat: Overhunting and habitat loss, including competition with domestic livestock
Threats: Became heavily exploited for its excellent timber and its bark.
Estimated numbers: 20,000
Threats: melting ice, loss of habitat, climate change
Threats: shark finning and overfishing, have been caught in large numbers virtually everywhere they occur, particularly in pelagic longline and drift net fisheries, Conservation and management action are urgently required for this species
Estimate number: 55
Threats: Gillnets, Trawling, urgently expansion of protected area required by New Zealand government
Estimated numbers: less than 500
Threats: deforestation for pastures, coal production, agriculture, hunting and road kill
Estimated population: 100 - 150
Threats: poisoning, road casualties, feral dogs and poaching, habitat loss is due mainly to infrastructure improvement, urban and resort development and tree monocultivation, which serves to break the lynx's distribution area, prey population of rabbits is also declining due to diseases such as myxomatosis and hemorrhagic pneumonia
Estimated population: very low densities, some populations with less than a hundred adult individuals per year, in 2007 one population went extinct and one population was found with only one surviving male.
Threat: brooks destroyed for irrigation purposes and concrete channels often replace brooks, water pollution and too intensive management (e.g clearing of all vegetation), climate change, hot and dry summers several brooks found to be dry.
Estimated numbers: 15,000-22,000
Threats: anthropogenic threats, entanglements in fishing gear, disturbance by vessels and other noise, collisions, petroleum-related problems
Threats: fishing gear, gill nets, seine nets, by-catch in fishing gear, poisoning by commercial fishermen, oil spills, boat strikes, chemical and noise pollution, overfishing of prey, and damming of rivers for hydroelectric projects, pesticides, mercury used to refine gold, dams that add to fragmenting dolphin populations, effects on migratory fish populations, outboard engines and illegal fishing with explosives
Estimated numbers: 10 - 25 and captive breeding programme
Threats: gradual changes in land use, from traditional crop land to cattle pasture and residential land; road kills; injury to hatchlings by rats, loss of juveniles to feral and domestic cats; and, loss of adults to the increasing number of dogs roaming free in the iguanas’ last habitats
50,000 western lowland gorillas (Gorillas gorilla gorilla) - in West Central Africa.
2,500 Eastern lowland gorilla Gorilla gorilla graueri) - eastern Congolese rainforest
790 Mountain gorillas (Gorilla gorilla beringei) - Virunga mountains of East central Africa
Threats: human encroachment on their habitat, degradation from agriculture, timber extraction, mining, and climate change, snares for game, victims of neighboring human welfare, high levels of hunting, disease-induced mortality through Ebola, protected areas have serious poaching problems, decline of genetic diversity, reproductive rates are extremely low, females do not reach sexual maturity until their tenth year and reproduce only once in 4 to 8 years, males are sexually active around 15, only 50 % survive their first year, genetic problems from inbreeding.
Threats: vulnerability to fisheries, habitat loss and degradation, small and fragmented populations and Critically Endangered globally.
Populations: 70-400, tiny, severely fragmented population, known from fewer than 12 recent locations.
Threats: agriculture, intense pressure. Forest loss and degradation by illegal tree cutting for firewood and timber, encroachment for cultivation, grazing and settlements, forest fires, minor irrigation dams, overgrazing by cattle, irrigation, predation from a number of native raptors, competition for a limited number of nesting cavities, hunted by local people for body parts and eggs (making of drums), pesticides and rodenticides
Estimated population: 1000 in whole of Europe
Threats: habitat loss, over-hunting and impact of alien American Mink
Estimated numbers: 500
Threats: Loss of habitat, road kills, shooting rabies, hybridizes with domestic dogs (Canis familiaris), threaten the genetic integrity of the wolf population. No exploitation of the species for furs, body parts.
Estimated population: 1,200
Threats: degradation of forest habitat by land conversion to agricultural use, for export crops, tree felling, disturbance, human population growth
Estimated population: 82
Threats: intense human colonisation, habitat destruction, fragmentation, illegal crop cultivation, grassland convertion, fumigation of illegal crops with glyphosate, environmental pollution, hunting for food.
Estimated population: 260-330 individuals
Threats: hunting pressures, trapped for their bones and heads, unintentionally trapped in iron traps for game, bears, commercial bush meat, habitat degradation, infrastructure, logging roads, dam building, habitat loss, large scale mechanical logging, effecting most mature conifer trees, food sources scarce, serious destruction, explosions, land slides, loss of tree cover, flooding following dam construction, displace shifting cultivation areas
Estimated population: 570
habitat drainage and conversion, from wetland habitat to agricultural soils and landscapes, intensively farmed lands, fragmentation with agricultural intensification, infrastructure, residential and industrial development, high demand in the pet trade, disturbance, road mortality, predation of eggs, hatchlings, global warming
Estimated population: 575,151 pairs
Threats: longline fishing, mortality in trawl fisheries, estimated minimum 5,000 killed per annum across the deep-water hake trawl fishery in south African waters during winter, explosion in European rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus numbers on Macquarie Island, destruction of habitat and soil erosion at nesting sites.
Estimated population: 4,880
Sub-Species: Southern-central Black Rhino (D. b. minor) 2,220, South-western Black Rhino (D. b. bicornis) 1,920 and Eastern Black Rhino (D. b. michaeli) 740 based on 2011 AfRSG data. In Cameroon, no evidence of the Western Black Rhino
Threats: Poaching for horn, use in Chinese medicine, and ornamental use, war and civil unrest, rhino horn and ivory for weapons, increased poaching due to poverty, conservation funds are diverted away from wildlife departments
Estimated population: 150,000 worldwide
Threats: Hunting for human consumption, (e.g. Greenland, Canada), oil and gas exploration, bycatch, resource depletion, hydroelectric development, dependence on estuarine conditions, industrial and urban pollution, seismic surveys, disturbance by vessel traffic, offshore drilling, climate change, climate-induced geographic shifts, changes in extent of sea ice, susceptible to ice entrapments, contaminants, PCBs and chlorinated PCB, increased occurrence of bacterial infections, parasitic infestation, gastric ulcers and other disorders, link between immune system dysfunction and PCB exposure
Estimated population: 20-750 native wild adult fish, more individuals from stocking.
Threats: Bycatch is the major threat and the extraction of gravel in the Garonne is a potential threat to the species. Dam construction, pollution and river regulation have led to loss and degradation of spawning sites.
Estimated numbers: 4 million
1) incidental mortality in fishing gear, especially driftnets,
2) reduced availability of prey caused by overfishing and habitat degradation
3) contamination by xenobiotic chemicals resulting in immunosuppression and reproductive impairment
4) environmental changes such as increased water temperatures affecting ecosystem dynamics
By-catches, ill nets, tangle nets, sink gill nets, bottom trawls, drift nets, purse-seine, driftnet, trawl fisheries, yellowfin tuna, U.S. drift gillnet fishery for sharks and swordfish, bycatch in European Atlantic fisheries, European pelagic trawl fisheries, bycatches of common dolphins in European pelagic trawl fisheries probably total around 800 animals per year in UK and French pelagic trawl fisheries for sea bass, Moroccan driftnet fishing fleet estimated that about 12,000-15,000 dolphins are killed annually around the Strait of Gibraltar, the current ban on driftnet fishing in the Mediterranean should be implemented and enforced as a matter of priority.
Estimated numbers: 40,000 - 50,000 in whole of Asia
Threats: habitat loss, poaching, and as a result of conflict with humans
Estimated numbers: 470,000 - 690,000
Threats: Poaching, illegal hunting for meat and ivory, habitat loss and human-elephant conflict
Estimated populations: Populations have decreased to the point of being not seen at all in 2004 or 2005, with only one individual found in 2006
Threats: Pesticides, loss of biodiversity of flowering wild herbs, unsustainable agriculture, pathogen spillover with tracheal mites (Locustacarus buchneri) and intestinal protozoa (Crithidia bombi, Nosema bombi).
Estimated numbers: 6,000 across 12 countries
Threats: hunting and habitat loss, they live in high mountains of Central Asia
Estimated numbers: Historically, sea otters numbered between several hundred thousand to more than a million. But due to the fur trade, worldwide numbers plummeted down to a total of 1,000-2,000 in the early 1900s. As of 2009, the three-year running average is approximately 2,800 southern sea otters off the coast of California. There are between 64,600 and 77,300 northern sea otters residing in Alaska, Canada and Washington. There are approximately 15,000 in Russia.
Threats: in the past fur trade, but Sea otters finally gained protections with the signing of the International Fur Seal Treaty of 1911, current threats are entrapment in fishing traps and nets, shootings, and oil spills.
Estimated numbers: 1,600
Threats: Habitat destruction, deforestation, Restricted and degraded habitat, Population fragmentation, food sourse restrictions (bamboo)
Estimated numbers: 5,000 to 12,000, 341,830 blue whales have been recorded caught in the Antarctic and sub-Antarctic (IWC 2006) in the 20th century
Threats: Whaling in the past, Blue whales are subject to some ship strikes and entanglements, disturbance from vessel traffic, including ship noise
Estimated numbers: 60,000 ' 78,000 adult female Hawksbills
Threats: Tortoiseshell Trade, Egg Collection, Slaughter for Meat, Destruction of Nesting Habitat, Destruction of Foraging Habitat, Hybridisation of Hawksbills with Other Species, Entanglement and Ingestion of Marine Debris - including Fishing Gear, Oil Pollution
Estimated numbers: 170,000-300,000
Threats: Habitat destruction and degradation, Poaching, Disease such as Ebola, exploitation, loss of habitat and habitat quality due to expanding human activities
The Oceans are the largest ecosystems of this planet and the natural balance of the chain of life in the oceans is about to change drastically. What do you know about these beautiful sentient beings the Great Whales? Fish stocks will be exhausted by 2050. Few fleets catch using sustainable practices. What do you know about whales' intelligence?
1. Mind Your Carbon Footprint and Reduce Energy Consumption
Reduce the effects of climate change on the ocean by leaving the car at home when you can and being conscious of your energy use at home and work. A few things you can do to get started today: Cycle to work, recycle and reuse to save resources and energy, take the stairs, turn the light off when not needed. Buy bio-degradable cleaning products and don’t add extra toxins to the oceans! Use soda crystals for your clothes etc. it’s the most environmentally-friendly product and does not add enzymes and pollute the oceans.
2. Make Safe, Sustainable Seafood Choices
Buy only MSC Marine Stewardship Council certified fish. Global fish populations are rapidly being depleted due to demand, loss of habitat, and unsustainable fishing practices. When shopping or dining out, help reduce the demand for overexploited species by choosing sustainable seafood.
3. Use Fewer Plastic Products
Plastics that end up as ocean debris contribute to habitat destruction and entangle and kill tens of thousands of marine animals each year. To limit your impact, carry a reusable water bottle, use re-usable food containers, bring our own reusable bag when shopping, and recycle whenever possible. Learn about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and watch Garbage Island and The Majestic Plastic Bag - A Mockumentary
4. Help Take Care of the Beach
Whether you enjoy diving, surfing, or relaxing on the beach, always clean up after yourself. Explore and appreciate the ocean by observation and without interfering with wildlife or removing rocks and coral. Go even further by encouraging others to respect the marine environment or by participating in local beach cleanups. Organise a beach clean-up and promote your project via Whale of a Time.
6. Be an Ocean-Friendly Pet Owner
Read pet food labels and consider seafood sustainability when choosing a diet for your pet. Never flush cat litter, which can contain pathogens harmful to marine life. Avoid stocking your aquarium with wild-caught saltwater fish, and never release any aquarium fish into the ocean or other bodies of water, a practice that can introduce non-native species harmful to the existing ecosystem. Buy organic food - it's better for health, animal well fare and our environment.
7. Support Organisations Working to Protect the Ocean
Join Whale of a Time.
Many institutes and organisations are working to protect ocean habitats and marine wildlife. Find a national organisation and consider volunteering for hands-on work or advocacy or financial support. If you live near the coast, join up with a local branch or group and get involved in projects close to home.
8. Influence Change in Your Community
Join Whale of a Time Community and become a Whale of a Time Artist sharing your inspirations and passion with the world! Research the ocean policies of public officials before you vote or contact your local representatives / MPs to let them know you support marine conservation projects. Consider educating restaurant owners and grocery store owners that offer only non-sustainable seafood, and speak up about your concerns if you spot a threatened species on offer.
9. Travel the Ocean Responsibly
Support Whale Watching Eco-Tourism! Practice responsible boating, kayaking, and other recreational activities on the water. Never throw anything overboard, and be aware of marine life in the waters around you. If you’re set on taking a cruise for your next vacation, do some research to find the most eco-friendly option. Never pay to watch whales and dolphins in captivity! Sign this petition to stop dolphin captivity forever and watch The Cove and learn about the campaign to set whales and dolphins free by Whale of a Time Artist Ric O'Barry
10. Educate Yourself About Oceans and Marine Life
The Whale of a Time website has everything you need to know about endangered species. Learn more at Whale of a Study Time. All life on Earth is connected to the ocean and its inhabitants. The more you learn about the issues facing this vital system, the more you’ll want to help ensure its health — share that knowledge to educate and inspire others by joining the Whale of a Time Community and Get involved with Whale of a Time and Sign petitions. We organise clay modelling workshops for children and adults based on endangered animal and plant species. Join us at one of our upcoming Whale of a Time Workshops!
Fired and glazed model of a Basking Shark, Whale of a Time Workshop
Don't eat shark fin soup! Talk to your friends about shark fin soup and remember: Friends don't let friends eat shark fin soup! Don't patronise restaurants that serve the dish. If you live near a restaurant that serves shark fin soup, talk to the owner about shark finning and politely ask them to consider removing shark fin soup from the menu. Very often people are unaware of the effect that their eating habits have on the environment. Pledge not to eat shark fin soup and join the Whale of a Time Community and get your message through. Educate yourself about Shark Finning
The Rainforest is the second-largest natural ecosystem on the planet and the destruction of the forest is happening at an incomprehensible rate. Corporations are stealing in the name of business, ancient trees are logged illegally and with them goes the whole ecosystem that is the home of more than 50% of all species on Earth. Thousands of species are destroyed due to unsustainable consumption.
Soya and palm oil are the largest rainforest killers. A recent report in scientific journal Nature (23rd March 2006) warned that 40% of the Amazon will be lost by 2050 if current trends in agricultural expansion continue, threatening biodiversity and seriously contributing to climate change. The soy is shipped to Europe, where it is fed to animals that are then turned into fast food products like chicken nuggets. Current economic trends are assisting and contributing to this crime.
2. Look at the source, and if it is from Indonesia, the Amazon or Central Africa, then think twice!
3. All companies and brands on this sheet use palm oil. Download palm oil information sheet - read online (pdf) print-out (pdf)
Stop buying these products. Write to the manufacturers and ask to stop using palm oil in their products.
Go Ape and support the preservation of the world's rainforests.
"Substituting fossil fuels with biofuels will not only add more carbon to the atmosphere, but will destroy primary forests, biodiversity and livelihoods, writes Tristan Farrow. The study, published in this week's issue of Science, argues that we would be better off, replanting forests, improving the efficiency of fossil fuel engines, and moving to carbon free alternatives over the next 30 years." (The Guardian)
In the year 2050 the CO2 level in the atmosphere as well as surface waters of the ocean will be double compared to the pre-industrial era.
We reap what we sow. We need to think of ways in which we can change our attitude and behaviour for everyone's benefit. Zero deforestation is an urgent priority if we want to save for the future the last remains of the Amazon and rainforests in Indonesia and Central Africa. Developing global sustainable economic business practices, driven by environmental friendly policy change, powered by a highly aware global consumer is what we need now.
Buzzing Bees Emergency!
All living beings depend on pollination. Without bees no pollination, without pollination no fruits and vegetables.
Modern agriculture uses a variety of pesticides and one of them called Neonicotinoids used for crops such as sunflower and sweetcorn is responsible for the global mass killing of our bees!
It's great to see bad things banned, but why is it that we approve them in the first place?
4 Things you can do for bees!
1. Help save the bees and buy organic, don't use pesticides.
2. Write to your representative or MP and ask him to vote for a ban of Neonicotinoids in our agriculture. Check the policies that politicians advocate and vote accordingly.
3. Encourage bees in your gardens by increasing the biodiversity of wildflowers and herbs!
Animals and plants on the brink of extinction and how you can help
Many scientists believe that we are on the brink of a new mass extinction, with at least a million species in danger of not making it through to the end of the century. One million species! How can we possibly turn this tide?
The Tiger - About 5 years ago the wild Chinese tiger population was estimated to be between 10 - 30, while approximately 60 survived in Chinese zoos. Today the Chinese Tiger has gone extinct due to poaching for tiger bones and its fur. The tiger (Panthera tigris) is a member of the Felidae family; the largest of the four "big cats" in the genus Panthera.
Whale of a Time is a great way to make a difference and support the growing sustainable wave of change that needs to happen on this planet now. Get involved with Whale of a Time, share your passion for a new awareness of the Earth and have a whale of a time! ;)
Are you Moby Dick?
Do you know what group of animals the whale belongs to?
Find the answers to our Whale Quiz and become a Friend of the Whale!