Saturday, February 4, 2012

Plastic bags are poisoning the planet's greatest predators: 65ft long sperm whales are being killed by human pollution

You quickly run out of superlatives when talking about whales.

They are the largest, loudest and longest-lived animals on our planet. How amazing, then, that we should still know so little about them — and that our ignorance has led these beautiful creatures into clear and present danger.

As a writer, I’ve studied whales around the world — from majestic blue whales off Sri Lanka to the playful humpbacks of Cape Cod. But it is the enigmatic sperm whale which fascinates me.

It has the biggest brain of any animal — a massive 18lb to our human 3lb — yet we really have no idea what it does with it.

This magnificent predator — at 65ft long, the greatest that has ever existed — spends 90 per cent of its life in the profound depths, able to dive deeper than any other animal.

For precisely that reason, it is the least studied of all the great whales.

And of all whales, it is under the greatest threat, too — from what we humans are doing to its environment. Only now are we beginning to understand these creatures. But is it too late? Read More