We’ve heard all about the annual Japanese dolphin slaughter. We have even seen NBC Hero’s Star Hayden Panettiere’s attempts to stop (or at least draw attention to) it. With all the media attention that was on Hayden and the dolphins these past couple years, what we still haven’t heard much about is the annual Japanese whale slaughter or about the whales themselves.
Which is a shame, because whales are fascinating creatures.
The humpback whale is a baleen whale which is usually between 40-50 feet in length and weighs an average of almost 80,000 pounds. The humpback has a distinct body shape with long pectoral fins and a knobbly head and is known for its acrobatic ability often breaching and slapping the water. Male humpbacks are also known for their amazing “songs” or sounds they produce, which is believed to play a crucial role in communication and mating.
Humbacks come in four different colors schemes ranging from white to gray to black to mottled. They also have distinctive patches of white on the underside of their flukes (tail), which are unique to the individual like a fingerprint is to a human. Humpbacks are known for having two blowholes and for sticking their tales out of the water and slapping them against the surface (known as “lobtailing”).