The largest mammals of modern day reside in the oceans and are often referred to as one of the world’s gentlest creatures. With their grandeur and modesty aside, whales suffer from extremely high mortality rates. Much of the depletion of most whales was caused by excessive, commercial whaling as early as the 1600s, but for one species, there is far more at play.
The southern right whale, a species of baleen whales native to the southern hemisphere, rebounded from near extirpation in most of their southern habitats after centuries of hunting. Now that more regulation has been enforced and whaling is internationally illegal, their population bounced back almost to the size of the pre-whaling era.
But oddly enough, since the 1970s, researchers have seen some sharp declines in population around Peninsula Valdes in Patagonia, Argentina that isn't due to human intervention. Multiple hypotheses have been tossed around, but no one can respond with a reason as to why they are seeing some of the worst baleen whale die-offs in recent years.Read More