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Green whale – will whale poo help save whales?

Whale poo illustration

Did you know that whales are good for the planet? Whales help combat global warming and climate change. We need more whales swimming in our oceans.

Whale poo is full of nutrients that feed tiny plants called phytoplankton. Phytoplankton is essential for all ocean life - it is at the base of all ocean food chains and ecosystems. Phytoplankton takes carbon dioxide from the air and releases oxygen.

Whales are nutrient mixers - they dive deeply looking for food and visit the surface regularly to breathe. Spending time at different ocean depths, whales transport nutrients up and down through the ocean.

Whales also migrate thousands of miles across the ocean and poo along the way – they take nutrients from one place to another, mixing things up, and feed phytoplankton everywhere.

When whales die, their bodies sink to the seabed. Like all living creatures, their cells are largely made of carbon. A dead whale takes lots of stored carbon to the seabed where it stays locked away for a very long time. Whales are carbon sinks and help combat global warming and climate change.

We need to protect whales and make sure they are safe and able to increase in numbers. More whales mean more phytoplankton and oxygen in the air. More whales mean less carbon dioxide pollution and less global warming.

Whales are climate protectors. Every Whale Counts. Save the whale!

About Alison Wood

Ali is WDC's Education coordinator. She also edits our children's magazine, Splash. She previously spent many years coordinating our research and conservation projects around the world. Her favourite species are river dolphins.