The southern right whale was so named because whalers called them the “right whale” to kill during a hunt. This was due to their plentiful oil and baleen content, being slow swimmers and floating when killed not sinking so they were easy to tie off next to the boats. Southern right whales live throughout the Southern Hemisphere, they are migratory whales, migrating annually between their warmer breeding areas and colder favourite feeding areas.
Numbers have recovered slightly, thanks to protection, however they face many other threats.
Warming oceans, and changes to ocean processes may alter the distribution and supply of food available to the southern right whale. Research suggests that warming waters may also hamper whale reproduction.
Entanglement in commercial fishing equipment and marine debris can injure or kill whales. It can also reduce a whale's fitness by restricting its mobility, and impairing its breathing, swimming or feeding. Nets and lines cut through a whale's skin and blubber, exposing the animal to infection, amputation or death.
We need your support to create a future for people and nature
Make a symbolic adoption of a southern right whale today to show your love and support for our wildlife and wild spaces in South Africa.
What is WWF and The Whale Unit doing?
WWF has partnered with the Mammal Research Institute Whale Unit of the University of Pretoria, that studies whales, dolphins and porpoises (cetaceans) in southern African waters. Its primary objective is to provide information that promotes their protection and conservation.
The Whale Unit has continued to monitor southern right whales since 1969. Using annual surveys, including photo-identification photography, the research is one of the longest continuous datasets for any marine mammal in the world. As such, it is an extremely valuable dataset that is of national and international importance.
All the results that the Whale Unit undertake are aimed at informing policy and promoting improved conservation protection for cetaceans (whales and dolphins) both in South Africa and internationally.
How does the symbolic adoption work?
First of all: thank you. You’re choosing something different. This is a special gift because it will help protect the beautiful and sometimes fragile environments that surrounds us – for both people and nature.
This is a perfect gift for animal lovers, environmentalists or simply people with a big heart.
What you get
A digital symbolic adoption certificate.
A beautiful digital photograph.
An optional soft toy to love forever. *Toy may vary from image shown.
We'll keep you updated on how you're supporting our vital work including sending you adoption updates two to three times a year.
Did you know?
Whale populations were healthy for several million years before human exploitation drove them to the brink of extinction.
Nineteenth century whaling drastically reduced southern right whale numbers.
Southern right whales feed mostly on plankton and krill.
Hermanus in the Western Cape has become a known center for whale watching.