Humans And Right Whales



As it is the case with many other species, the right whale humans relationship as it was first developed is not one that humanity can be proud of. Nowadays specialists and animal welfare groups try to increase the awareness towards whaling and whales and they try to find out more information about these rather unknown creatures of the depth and educate people hoping that this will change their attitude towards them.

The beginning of the right whale humans relationship was primarily based on the humans' drive to hunt these whales. Actually, their name is thought to come from the fact that some time ago people considered these whales as the whales that were 'right' to hunt. It is estimated that before the mid 18th century, the right whale was pretty much the only species of whales that people could actually catch. Specialists pointed that they used to swim close to the shore, which eventually made them an easy target, they are slow swimmers and they would float after being killed. Thus, it is thought that in the 11th century the Basque people started to hunt right whales for commercial purposes. By the 16th century these hunters had travelled to Canada and brought their habits along. Furthermore, the commercial hunting of the right whale started being practiced by the Americans as well and they were thought to hunt even up to 100 whales in a year. However, the practice ended in the mid 1970s but it was about to revive in the wake of the 20th century. As one might expect, commercially hunting these whales in the 20th century was much more aggressive as technology was on the humans' side.

But the right whale humans relationship is not only involving negative commercial hunting but also whale watching. South Africa has become one of the main places to go if one wants to watch whales, and in particular the southern right whale.


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