Sounds like they’re worried – Whales aren’t singing the way they used to. Their voices become deeper every year, and scientists are worried that this may be a sign that they’re in trouble. The same thing is happening to whales all over the world.

Whale researcher Mark McDonald first noticed this phenomenon 8 years ago. In, Brandon Keim quotes him as saying, “We don’t have the answer. We just have a lot of recordings.”

Keim quotes researcher Hal Whitehead as saying, “The exciting possibility, I think, is that they’re all listening to each other. This is a worldwide cultural phenomenon, and that’s very cool.”
read more

Taking tourists out to go whale watching produces much more revenue for coastal communities than hunting whales for food. So why do some countries still hunt these intelligent mammals down?

A report from a meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) shows that the whale watching industry is now worth over two billion dollars a year worldwide. Despite this, Iceland (which wants to expand its tourist industry) recently announced a major expansion of its whale hunts, with the aim of killing 250 whales this year.

In BBC News, Richard Black quotes the IWC’s Patrick Ramage as saying, “Whales are worth far more alive than dead.”
read more

It’s a whale of a tail and all those clicks that sonar picks up underwater let us know that whales are telling it. But what are they saying to each other? Scientists think they may have finally deciphered whale talk.

For decades scientists have been intrigued by the variety of sounds emitted by sperm whales, partly due to a popular theory that suggests that the sounds might contain information about the animals’ size. But historically it has been extremely difficult to demonstrate that these curious clicking noises can reveal information about the physical characteristics of the massive marine mammals. Now, researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego are unlocking some of the mysteries of sperm whale sound production.
read more

Like the vanishing polar bear, the decline in the penguin population is the canary in the coal mine, warning us that something is going wrong on our planet?but this time the problem isn’t climate change.

Oil pollution, depletion of fisheries and rampant coastline development are what is threatening breeding habitats for many penguin species. Biologist Dee Boersma says, “The fate of all species is to go extinct, but there are some species that go extinct before their time and we are facing that possibility with some penguins.”
read more