Shipping lanes are a new threat to blue whales

By Jennifer Pilgrim,

A new study published in the journal Plos One reveals that blue whales oftentimes appear to cluster together in shipping lanes, putting the large mammals at risk for collision with the gigantic vessels as they travel across the ocean.

According to the Associated Press, researchers studied and tracked 171 whales over a period of 15 years to determine their common travel habits. Other studies done through simple whale sightings were unable to reveal the potential issues and view the long-term habits of the animals.

Blue whales are the largest animals on Earth - they can reach a length of more than 100 feet and weigh more than 150 tons. Almost one-fourth of the entire population resides in West Coast waters, near the shipping lanes.

Viral Global News reports that collisions with the giant mammals occurs more often in summer months because of the whales' need to maximize their food intake before they migrate in the early fall months. There is discussion underway for a rerouting of the shipping lanes, but there is much more research and discussion to be done in attempt to lessen the whale-ship interactions.

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