The blue whale is the largest animal that has ever existed. Its tongue can weigh as much as an elephant and its heart as much as an car. Blue whales can live up to 90 years, grow to 32 metres and weigh up to 200 tons. They feed almost exclusively on krill. Whales are at the top of the food chain and play an important role in the health of the marine environment. During the 20th century, the species was almost exterminated due to commercial whaling. It slowly recovered following the global whaling ban, but remains threatened by environmental change, habitat loss and toxics.
Scientific Name: Balaenoptera musculus
Estimated population: 10,000 - 25,000
Location: Worldwide oceans
Habitat: Cold and temperate waters
Faces an extremely high risk of extinction in the immediate future.
Faces a high risk of extinction in the near future.
Faces a high risk of endangerment in the medium term.