Accidents on the road involving the killing or injury of animals, is, sadly, a common thing we see as we go about our lives. But there is another traffic way that is harming animals, one it’s not on land but in our oceans.

Did you know that blue whales are the largest animal ever been known to live on this planet? They are also one of the longest living animals, reaching up 80-90 years of age. Unfortunately, there are only about 10,000 blue whales that still swim in our oceans, declaring blue whales endangered on the World Conservation Union Red List. Death of blue whales occur due to hunting by whalers for their whale oil, shark and killer whale attacks, and collisions with ships.

Blue Whale

Image courtesy of Kathy, Toadstool ring, on Flickr

According to Greenpeace, four whales were killed in 2007 when ships hit them near Santa Barbara; their bodies washed up on the shore. It is estimated that more whales have been hit and killed by ships than are known. Ships pose a danger because they ram whales and their sharp propellers cut up the whales.

How can we avoid these accidents in order to get the blue whale population up to a healthy level? What we need to do is make sure that we work around blue whales and their migration patterns. Our ships need to avoid crossing paths with them.

It is known that every year from July to October blue whales migrate to the California coast to feed on tiny shrimp-like animals called krill. Strikes between whales and cargo ships, oil tankers, and cruise ships occur because they travel directly over the blue whale’s feeding grounds. In order to avoid ship and whale collisions in this area, according to Greenpeace, we need to open up other routes for one of our busiest shipping lanes.

So choosing a different shipping route? It may sound simple, but currently the alternate routes we need to open up are occupied by U.S. Navy ships. Greenpeace, the Great Whale Conservancy, and other groups are teaming up to tell President Obama to open up U.S. naval water routes to commercial shipping. If you wish to pass this message along to President Obama, and save an endangered blue whale, check out the Greenpeace website.