Wikipedia:Today's featured article/January 3, 2008

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A Fin Whale surfaces in the Kenai Fjords, Alaska

The Fin Whale is a marine mammal belonging to the suborder of baleen whales. It is the second largest whale and the second largest living animal after the Blue Whale, growing to nearly 27 metres (88 ft) long. Long and slender, the Fin Whale's body is brownish-gray with a paler underside. There are at least two distinct subspecies: the Northern Fin Whale of the North Atlantic, and the larger Antarctic Fin Whale of the Southern Ocean. It is found in all the world's major oceans, from polar to tropical waters. It is absent only from waters close to the ice pack at both the north and south poles and relatively small areas of water away from the open ocean. Its food consists of small schooling fish, squid and crustaceans including mysids and krill. Like all other large whales, the Fin Whale was heavily hunted during the twentieth century and is an endangered species. The International Whaling Commission (IWC) has issued a moratorium on commercial hunting of this whale, although Iceland and Japan have announced intentions to resume hunting, the latter country stating it will kill a quota of 50 whales for the 2008 season. Collisions with ships and noise from human activity are also significant threats to the recovery of the species. (more...)

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