05 December 2011 Worth Defending: Bowhead Whale Posted by: James Randolph | Leave a comment | Share: Bowhead whales These Arctic heavyweights use their massive bow-shaped heads to crash through sea ice—and they also smash a couple of records. Weighing in at up to 60 tons, bowhead whales hold the record for the biggest mouth of any living animal and they have the densest blubber, measuring up to 2-feet thick. In a whale’s world it’s a bonus to be big, and that means bowheads have few natural predators. Even so, by the early 20th century, whalers had nearly pushed the population into the abyss, relentlessly hunting bowheads for their bones and blubber—key ingredients in household products of the day like corsets and oil. Today many countries including the United States have strict laws prohibiting commercial whaling, but threats persist. Scientists say that new plans to drill for oil off Alaska’s northern coast could harm these graceful goliaths. If they’re right, being “hardheaded” may not be enough for bowheads to hang on. Read more in the latest issue of Defenders. Post Your Comment Click here to cancel reply. Name (required) Mail (required) (will not be published) You May also be interested in Senate Wakes Up to Climate Change…At Least Some of Them Tonight more than 20 senators will be taking over the Senate floor to pull an all-nighter to “wake up” Congress to climate change. Wolf Weekly Wrap-Up Helicopter gunning kills 23 wolves in Idaho; Urge Secretary Jewell to abandon gray wolf delisting proposal — Call your representative by March 14; Washington wildlife agency urged to end support for abolishing federal wolf protections; The latest on Governor Otter’s wolf control board. Two Too Many Development Projects in the Ivanpah Valley While these projects most definitely directly impact a species that has been identified as threatened and is dependent on the habitat where they would be built, Silver State South and Stateline’s approval is most troubling for a bigger reason. You see, this isn’t just an issue for the Ivanpah Valley. Developers and agencies need to be conscious of how and where they plan energy projects all across the country. They need to look at renewable energy planning with a landscape-wide lens, understanding that building in the right places and making an effort to minimize environmental impacts from the start are essential.