Marine mammals are probably the most exotic animals that have excited and fascinated human imagination. Most of these animals can surprise us with their remarkable intelligence and artistic ability. Unfortunately, most marine mammals have landed up in a zoo and amusement centers to please the crowd.
Pizza, a three-year-old polar bear, was kept inside an aquarium in a Chinese Mall for 2 years until the activists and millions of supporters signed a petition against the Chinese mall. ~NatGeo
Marine mammals are the aquatic species that rely on the ocean and other marine ecosystems for survival. Unlike fish, marine mammals are obligate water dwellers.
They belong to Mammalia genus and share several similar characteristics with all other mammals, like;
- They breathe air for Oxygen
- They are Warm-blooded animal
- They give a live birth
- They possess mammary gland.
Some sea mammals are semi-aquatic such as walrus and seals who dwell on land for mating, breeding, and molting, while few others are complete-aquatic such as whales and dolphins.
23% of marine mammal species are currently threatened.
10 Marine Mammals
The polar bear is the largest terrestrial predator in the Arctic that depends on the marine ecosystem for survival. Although they are birthed on land, they spend most of their time on the sea ice. It is closely related to the brown bear (Ursus arctos). Adult polar bears can weigh over 1500 pounds (700 kg). Due to habitat loss caused by climate change, polar bears are classified as vulnerable species.
Dolphins are one of the aquatic mammals that depend on the marine ecosystem for survival. They belong to the Cetacea genus. Dolphin sizes may range from 1.7m (5.6ft) to 9.5m (31ft) and can weigh up to 11 short tons. Most dolphins face threats from climate change, habitat loss, marine pollution, and capture.
Thousands of dolphins are hunted in Japan and served as delicacy despite being banned by animal welfare society. Bottlenose dolphins are the most common species which are kept in captivity.
Blue Whale is the largest known animal and the largest mammal in the world. They can reach a length of at least 110m (33m) and weigh up to 209 tons. Blue Whales are the most hunted animal in the world. They were prized hunt for most hunters in the twentieth century.
A 2002 report estimated there were 5,000 to 12,000 blue whales left in the world.
The bearded seal, also known as square flipper seal, is one of four Arctic seals that reside in and around the Arctic Ocean, as well as the Bering, Chukchi and Beaufort seas in Alaska. The largest northern phocid, they can weigh up to 300kg. They prey on clam, squid, and fish. As members of the “true seal” family, the bearded seal is closely related to the gray seal and harp seal.
The Narwhals are probably the most majestic marine animals. They are a medium-sized toothed whale found mostly in the Arctic waters around Greenland, Canada, and Russia. The tusk is actually one of two teeth in the upper jaw and only reaches full length (over 6 feet/2 m) in sexually mature males. It is used to attract females and to fight off other males.
Some of the other marine mammals include Walrus, Sperm Whale, Dugong, Humpback Whale, Marine Otter, and Hourglass Dolphins.