Before man began to harvest the seas on a commercial scale, there were more than 200,000 Blue Whales roaming the oceans of the world. Whaling has greatly reduced the number of whales and many species are in danger of extinction.
Large scale commercial whaling during the 19th and 20th centuries greatly reduced Blue Whale populations. The current worldwide population is only about 10,000-14,000.
The blue whale is now listed as an endangered species by the IUCN.
Blue Whales are able to breed when they reach about 6-10 years of age.
The gestation period (length of pregnancy) is 12 months and only one calf is born.
A Blue Whale calf drinks about 400 litres of mother’s milk each day and is eventually weaned at eight months after producing nearly 100 tonnes of the energy-rich food.
Newborn Blue Whale calves are about 7 m long and weigh 2,700-3,600 kg and gain about 90 kg per day.
Blue Whales eat krill (tiny shrimp) and occasionally pelagic crabs for the rest of their lives. They live for 30 to 40+ years.