Right whales have been hunted for centuries because of their stores of blubber and the oil that comes from these whales. The right whale is one of the slowest swimmers of all the whales and can only reach up to speeds of 10 miles per hour in very short spurts which make it a prime target for whaling efforts. The right whale is also one of the best divers in the animal kingdom making dives up to 1000 feet in many instances. In addition to this, they can stay in a submerged position for an extended period of time at 40 minutes. The right whale is a baleen whale that has been studied since 1969 but in this relatively short amount of time much has been learned about the right whale though there is still so much to learn. The first person to actively study populations of right whales off the coast of Argentina was Dr. Roger Payne who used their callosity patterns to distinguish one right whale from another. These callosities are found most often on the faces and blow holes of right whales and Payne found that there were different patterns of callosities present with every different right whale.
Right whales are endangered species today because of the whaling that has been going on for centuries. Though the right whale is a protected species of animal today there are very few of these whales left alive and they are on the brinks of extinction. The population that is present in the world today number in the few thousands and this is a far cry from what the population of right whales was just a few short centuries ago. In the northern hemisphere of the world especially the right whale is almost extinct though there is evidence of growth of the species in the southern hemisphere of the world. Many efforts have been made to increase the population of the right whale but with the human population increasing and human activity effecting the ecosystem so heavily it is not known whether these whales will survive in years to come.