The Southern Right Whale, by Richard Ellis, can be seen during the winter on the south west coast in Victoria, Australia.

Most whales and dolphins are not critically endangered but some are.

The Right Whales are not doing well at all.  Because their numbers have gone so low their gene pool is very narrow.  This means that a loss of even one whale can make them even more vulnerable to inbreeding.  The whales did not cause this problem for themselves, we did and there are many people who are quite happy to keep on causing it.  There are people out there who will kill every whale that they can get their hands on.

To learn about the danger of �narrowly based gene pools� see GE/GM Crops in a Nutshell.

Whales and how they are grouped..

There are 3 groups in the Order of cetaceans, they are Mysticeti the baleen whales, Odontoceti the tooth whales and dolphins and Archaeoceti the ancient extinct whales which are known only from the fossil record.

About the words Mysticeti and Odontoceti.

The part of each of these words on their ending �ceti� comes from two extinct languages; Old Greek and Latin.  The old Greek word (not Modern Greek) for whale is �ketos� in Modern Greek it is �phalena�.  The Latin word for whale is �cetus�.

The baleen are the strainers that hang down from the roof of the mouth of these whales.  The baleen serve as strainers to catch the krill and plankton as the water is ejected from the whale�s mouth.  This name, Mysticeti has been given to these whales because the hanging baleen is reminiscent of a moustache.  The Greek word for moustache is moustaki.

The toothed whales and dolphins get the first part of their name Odontoceti because the Greek word for tooth is �dondi�; hence the English word orthodontist whereas the first part of the word dentist comes from Latin.

How many types of whales and dolphins are there?

In the Order of Mysticeti there are 3 Families which contain 12 species.  In the Order of Odontoceti there are 8 Families which are said to contain about 65 species.

To learn how these words Order, Family and Species come about and are used, go to Classification/Taxonomy section (Answers #1).

Species List of some great and interesting Cetacea

Mysticeti - Baleen Whales - Great Whales
Gray Whales (long distance swimmer)
Gray Whale (Eschrichtius robustus) Pictures and Links...
The Bowhead and Right Whales (giant tugboats)
Bowhead (giant ice-breaker) (Balaena mysticetus) Pictures and Links...
North Atlantic Right Whale (Eubalaena glacialis)  
North Pacific Right Whale (Eubalaena japonica)  
Southern Right Whale (Eubalaena australis) Pictures and Links...
The Pygmy Right Whale (Baleen Whale, but not a Great Whale) (Balaena marginata)  
Rorquals (These are the fast cruisers with the exception of the Humpback)
Blue (cruiser) (Balaenoptera musculus) Pictures and Links...
Fin (cruiser) (Balaenoptera physalus) Pictures and Links...
Bryde (cruiser) (Balaenoptera edeni)  
Sei (cruiser) (Balaenoptera Borealis)  
Minke (cruiser) (Balaenoptera acutorostrata)  
Humpback (singing acrobat) (Megaptera novaeangliae) Pictures and Links...
The only Great Toothed Whale (Ordontoceti)
Sperm (Cachalot) (deep sea diver - 20kg brain) (Physeter macrocephalus) Pictures and Links...

Smaller Toothed Whales
Northern Bottle Nosed Whale (Hyperoodon ampullatus)  
Orca (killer whale) (Orcinus orca) Pictures and Links...
Commersons Dolphin (a beautiful creature) (Cephalorhynchus commersonii) Pictures and Links...
Pygmy Sperm (Kogia breviceps) Pictures and Links...

General Information

There are still a few countries who allow whaling.

The Japanese are perhaps the greatest offenders. They try to tell the world that they are doing scientific whaling.  Don't they realise that the whole world knows that they are lying through their teeth. By using the term scientific whaling it is meant to appear that they care about whales. These whales are for the Japanese whale-meat market. It is often said that the Japanese are always concerned about saving face.

Well they had better hurry up and do something about stopping this outdated barbaric practice or the caring people of the planet will start to put them into the same category as the Chinese farmers of bear bile, Korean dog torturers and those who use children as soldiers.
Horrible people, grrr shudder..

Remember that there are many caring Japanese people who are also against whaling.


After reading 'A whale for the killing' i found it hard to believe that almost nobody took any notice of what a whale was trying to say when some sportsmen were killing its mate.  Here is the story in brief.

A true story about two fin whales...


A female fin whale fishing for herring, was trapped in a pond on the coast of New Foundland.

At the mouth of the harbour roamed her guardian mate,
chasing fish in to her as best he could make.

Imprisoned she'd be until next spring tide,
when the water would rise and out she could ride.

But luck was not with her for pregnant she was,
and an eighty ton whale needs food just because.

And sportsmen from town to brighten their lives,
brought down high powered rifles to shoot at the prize.

Day after day and thousands of rounds,
writhing in pain to pleasure those clowns.

Some folks were there, they could not help,
but a man saw the whales from high on a shelf.

"She got weaker and weaker you could tell by her blows,
more air she needed so more often she rose".

"Her guardian outside could not see her for sure,
but each time she blew, he'd blow just once more"

Fin whales are rorquals and they mate for life,
how would you feel be it your darlin' wife?

Through icy waters they love and they play,
and grow a thick blubber to keep cold away.

This mother whale her blubber burned thin,
her bones could be seen, ribs through her skin.

Her eyes were shot out she was holed all around,
she died, freezing and starving she drowned.

The guardian he left what could he say,
he tried to tell us in his own way.

He spelled out his message his words of dispair,
but it must seem to him that we really don't care.


This story was inspired by the novel:  'A WHALE FOR THE KILLING'  by Farley Mowat

Stop Whaling Now

Japanese Whaling Becomes an Industry Out of Control

A Greenpeace Site

Japan's "Scientific" Whaling: A Deadly Scam

Giants Of The Sea

General Information on Whales and Dolphins

Another great Australian site.