|Every summer, millions of people spend their time at the beach. Oceans are full of all sorts of wildlife. Depending on where you are and what you’re doing, you may spot a whale while you’re on the water.
Whales have an important part to play in the ocean – one you might not expect.
They are a great source of carbon sequestration.1
This means they help protect the planet from carbon dioxide and have their own part in mitigating climate change. They can store up to 33 tons of carbon per individual!1
They also are at the top of their food chain, so they influence all the species underneath them in the food chain.1 However, a big threat to whales is humans. We have a long history of hunting whales down for oil in the past. Now, the bigger threats come from fishing gear, noise pollution, plastic pollution, and crashes with ships.2 There are 13 great whale species – and six of them are deemed vulnerable or endangered.1
Whales are usually divided into two groups: baleen whales and toothed whales. Those in the baleen group don’t have teeth in their mouth but have baleen, which they use to filter out their prey. Those in the toothed whale group have teeth and go after bigger prey.3
Humpback Whales are popular to see during whale watches because they tend to be active at the surface. They’ll often smack their fins against the water or jump up into the air!
Want to learn more about other animals?
Explore our puzzle collection! Each puzzle has a different animal theme and comes with a poster for reference and a list of fun facts about that animal! Put the pieces together and see what you can learn!