Understanding the detrimental consequences of human influence on marine ecosystems now requires the identification of whales with spinal abnormalities. These malformations, which are sometimes caused by becoming tangled in fishing gear or colliding with vessels, can have negative effects on the survival and well-being of these wonderful creatures. A huge fin whale that was seen struggling in the water off the coast of Spain was later found to have severe scoliosis of unknown cause.
The 55-foot-long, 40-ton animal was discovered last Saturday off the coast of the city of Cullera, and its presence was reported to veterinarians and biologists at the Valencia Oceanarium. The whale was listed in shallow waters and appeared to be drifting slowly close to Cullera’s lighthouse, leading some to fear it had become tangled in a fishing net. The oceanarium staff immediately determined, however, that the cetacean was not entangled but rather was suffering from a severely malformed spine that prevented it from swimming normally.
What Is The Population Of Fin Whale Species?
The whale, which eventually lumbered away from the shore and back out to sea, was being tracked by biologists from Valencia’s Oceanographic Foundation. However, they claimed that it was impossible due to the shallow waters and the whale’s highly irregular morphology.
The World Wildlife Foundation estimates that the fin whale species has a global population of 50,000–90,000 and is classified as ‘threatened’. Scoliosis is not known to affect whales, but there have been instances where cetaceans have shown severe spinal injuries as a result of trauma, such as after colliding with a ship.
But a new study found earlier this year that four genes linked to gigantism were responsible for the enormous size of whales. These genes, according to the researchers, supported their large mass while simultaneously reducing associated negative effects, such as increased cancer risk and decreased reproductive efficiency.
What Scientists Have Done To Address This Issue?
Scientists and researchers have created cutting-edge methods for identifying and monitoring whales with spinal malformations in order to address this problem. Experts may locate and record these defects with amazing precision by using cutting-edge technology like underwater drones, acoustic moto systems, and high-resolution imagery. Scientists want to increase public awareness of the detrimental effects of human activity on marine life and promote the adoption of conservation measures to safeguard these “ease pheasants” by examining the frequency and distribution of these anomalies.