The Narwhal

Monodon monoceros

It's Home

Live in the Arctic Ocean near Canada, Greenland, Norway and Russia

This is strange because other species of whales typically migrate

What does it look like?

Smallish whale

  • Males 16 feet
  • Females 13 feet

Born Gray, eventually becomes black and white

Comparable to a beluga

Tusk is anywhere from 6 to 9 feet

Tusk grows out of lower jaw

Narwhals in their niche

Like most whales, the narwhals is near the top of its food chain, consuming flatfish, shrimp, squid, and cod. Really, the only the things that eat narwhals are killer whales and humans, such as the Inuit people who have been hunting the narwhal for generations for their tusks. There are approximately 50 to 80 thousand narwhals living in the Arctic, which are all at the mercy of the ice layer.

Why the narwhal is threatened

The narwhal is threatened because it has been hunted for thousands of years for their horns, dating back to the times of the Vikings, and are still being hunted today by the native Inuit people. More prominently, though, is the fact that the narwhal's habitat is becoming destroyed more every day due to global warming. They primarily dive deep into the ocean in order to catch fish and other prey. With the melting of ice in the Arctic, the narwhal has more competition for the food, as polar bears and other ice-dwellers are gaining easier access to the narwhal's food supply

What can we do?

The narwhal is the most at-risk species in the Arctic. So what, can humans do to save this majestic beast? The main killer of narwhals is global warming, so we can try to stop that as a species. This means cutting our carbon emissions down, use more renewable resources, and educate others on the issues that may one day make the narwhal extinct.
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