|Date of Issue||May 20, 2022|
Current monetary value: $0.92.
|Series Time Span||2022|
Canadian waters are home to more than half of the approximately 60 species of whales found in the world. Unfortunately, the five featured on these stamps have populations that have been assessed as Endangered by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). Seven other species are also at risk.
Whales are affected by many human-related threats, from pollution to climate change. They are entangled in fishing gear, struck by ships and disturbed by boat traffic. And their ability to communicate and echolocate is hampered by noise from ships, marine construction and seismic surveys.
Highly intelligent and remarkably graceful for their size, whales not only are warm-blooded air breathers, like us, but also share many of our behaviours.
Relatives of the narwhal, belugas enjoy close physical contact and are vocal communicators that use a diversity of clicks and whistles. Once heavily hunted and captured for aquariums, they now number fewer than 1,000 in the St. Lawrence Estuary.
Killer whale populations were also affected by hunting and capture. Orcas, as they are also known, live in family-based pods that have unique dialects of sounds and cultures that have been handed down through generations. Residents off British Columbia’s southern coast now number only about 75.
The largest animal on Earth, blue whales are so loud, they can communicate over distances of up to 1,600 kilometres. These gentle giants once made up 90 percent of the commercial whaling catch. Today, they likely number fewer than 10,000 worldwide – down from a total once estimated at over 350,000.
Curious and acrobatic, North Atlantic right whales were also decimated by the whaling industry. Now facing possible extinction, their global population is estimated at fewer than 350 individuals – and is continuing to decline.
Found only in the North Atlantic, the northern bottlenose whale has been recorded diving to depths of more than 2.3 kilometres. Commercial hunters exploited the curiosity of these social animals, whose year-round population in Canada’s Scotian Shelf is an estimated 164 individuals.
It is hoped that conservation efforts will enable the recovery of these remarkable species before it is too late.