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 Name (required) Mail (required) (will not be published) You May also be interested in Wolf Weekly Wrap Up Red wolves still in dire straits, and the Service isn’t helping; Conservationists will sue for lobo recovery; More Money for wolf killing in Idaho; The results are in! Lessons from the Field: Learning to Live with Wildlife In July Defenders’ staff participated in the NACCB in Missoula, Montana to promote its successful wildlife coexistence programs. Trapped: derelict fishing gear is big trouble for marine life Abandoned fishing gear on the ocean floor is a serious threat to whales, sea turtles and all marine wildlife.