Narwhal awareness

January 25, 2010
The Monodon Monoceros, or the Narwhal. This seemingly hypothetical creature exists. In the northern cold of the Arctic waters this magnificent creature is being hunted by whalers and Inuits, pushing this species close to being an endangered animal.

The Narwhal can be found in northern Canada and Greenland. This large mammal is a light bluish-grey colored whale with dark speckles and has a diet of squid and other smaller fish. The Narwhal can grow from ten to twenty feet in length, around the size of a school bus, and can reach up to a ton in weight. It has an eight foot spiral tooth extending out of its upper lip like a horn. Both male and female Narwhals have this tooth, but the female’s is less prominent. They travel in pods, or groups of fifteen to twenty, but hundreds and sometimes thousands have been sighted together at a time.

Inuits hunt these animals with spears and even guns. They do this for their skin for making clothing articles, blankets and rugs, and tusks for making art and for selling to different people to make money. Yet the number of Narwhals remaining is dwindling to around 3,500 to 7,500 in existence. “I think it’s stupid,” says Maddie J, 8th. “They should just hunt unicorns instead.” It is not just people hunting the Narwhals. Some common predators of the narwhal are killer whales, Greenland shark, polar bears, and suspicion of a parasite called Cyamus monodontis, or the the Narwhal louse.

These magnificent animals' numbers are continuing to deplete due to heavy hunting, but there are still many people who don’t even realize they exist. “Now that I know that Narwhals exist, I think they are amazing,” says Caroline S. It is predicted that with the rates at which the Narwhals' numbers are going down, they will soon be an endangered species. Will you help the Narwhals?