Jean-Christophe André

Save the whales, because the whales can save us.

A team of economists at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) waned to drive home how important whales are, so they put it in terms we could understand: money. A new analysis detailed in Finance & Development puts a price tag on exactly how much whales are worth to us, and why we should care about the world's whale population.

Whales absorb large amounts of carbon in their bodies. During the lifetime of the average whale, which is 60 years, it will sequester 33 tons of CO2. In comparison, a tree absorbs up to 48 pounds of CO2 each year. Whales also promote the growth of phytoplankton. Phytoplankton captures 40% of the world's CO2 and contributes at least 50% of oxygen to the atmosphere. "At a minimum, even a one percent increase in phytoplankton productivity thanks to whale activity would capture hundreds of millions of tons of additional CO2 a year, equivalent to the sudden appearance of two billion mature trees," the study says.

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The Planet
Photo by Thomas Kelley on Unsplash

It's fun to go to a party, talk to strangers, and try to guess where they're from just by their accents and use of language. It's called 'soda' on the East Coast and 'pop' in the Midwest, right? Well, it looks like a new study has been able to determine where a Humpback whale has been and who he's been hanging out with during his awesome travels just from his song.

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SeaWorld's Post Blackfish Syndrome

The future is grim for America's favorite, freedom-quashing, aquatic theme park.

Illustration by Tyler Hoehne

It’s been a slow, slippery slide into ignominy for SeaWorld, but the past two years have plunged the company into a Mariana-sized trench of bad publicity—whether the animal theme park can resurface remains to be seen.

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Intermission: The Best Video of Mariachis Serenading a Whale You'll Ever See

If you look closely, you can almost see the whale smiling.

Anyone worth his salt who writes for the internet knows that sometimes you have to step out of the way and let the video do its thing. That in mind, we'll offer only this brief description of the clip below: Mariachi Connecticut plays a tune for Juno the beluga whale at the Mystic Aquarium in Mystic, Connecticut. Whoever shot this should think about patenting it as an antidepressant. Enjoy.

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People Are Awesome: Look at Hundreds of Volunteers Help Hydrate Beached Whales

When dozens of whales ended up stranded in New Zealand—twice—hundreds of volunteers came to their rescue.

When dozens of pilot whales got stranded on a beach in New Zealand last week, "droves" of volunteers and professionals from the Department of Conservation teamed up to help move the animals back into the ocean. But just days later, 65 of the whales had again beached themselves. This time, not only did hundreds more volunteers show up, they stayed with the whales, hydrating them for hours until the tide rose and the whales could move themselves back to sea.

Eventually, all 65 whales survived and made it back to the ocean.

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