Terry L. Maple, Ph.D. At a length of 100 feet and weighing 200 tons, the blue whale is the largest creature that ever lived on the earth. Their typical lifespan is 80 to 90 years, but their numbers have dwindled to fewer than 15,000 due to the long-term effects of commercial whaling. More than 90 percent of the population was slaughtered by whalers before they became a protected species under the Endangered Species Act in the 1970’s and could no longer be hunted legally. These solitary whales occupy all of the world’s oceans as they migrate in search of their favored prey, the tiny crustaceans called krill. A blue whale can consume 4 tons of krill in a day. Commercial whaling is an anachronism pursued by only three nations, Japan, Iceland, and Norway. Japan returned to whaling after a lengthy pause, but thankfully, Iceland has decided to stop commercial whaling. With so few nations hunting whales, it should be possible to persuade these friendly governments to cease the practice. The American government could be the catalyst to achieve this outcome and ease the pressure on whales that already suffer from collisions with ships, entanglements from fishing nets, noise, and the ingestion of plastics in the open ocean. These whales often suffer a long and painful death that could be prevented by better practices. In my new book, Beyond Animal Welfare (Palmetto, 2019), I reviewed the current condition of our oceans and the plight of whales. I have urged President Trump to exert leadership to clean up the oceans and to use his bully pulpit to help Japan and Norway to see the light and join other nations in protecting one of the earth’s most charismatic creatures. He is perhaps the only world leader with the courage and the resources to end whaling and heal our open oceans. There is growing public support for protecting whales. A nationwide survey conducted in 2012 revealed that 77 percent of people interviewed supported strong conservation for whales and other marine mammals, while 89 percent opposed commercial whaling. People appreciate the fact that whales are believed to be highly intelligent animals with a rich social life and complex communication skills. We have no good reason to hunt or harass them. At the same time, scientists have determined that whales are important reservoirs for carbon and may be our secret weapon in the fight to manage climate change. Whales stimulate plant and plankton growth by stirring up nutrients buried deep in the ocean floor. They also defecate and contribute to the growth of plants and other ocean living creatures. Scientists have estimated that sperm whales sequester as much carbon as 604 acres of U.S. forests. The swimming motion of 80 whales in Hawaii can absorb the equivalent carbon of 208 acres of forest. Economists working with the United Nations Environment program have valued each whale at $2M because of the cost of carbon mitigation. The global population of whales, due to their great size and long life, is valued at more than $1 trillion. Compared to trees that sequester 48 pounds per year, whales store as much as 33 tons of Co2 in their blubber. There are currently 1.3 million whales inhabiting our oceans, down from the estimated 5 million individuals before whaling took its toll. Whales are a good example of ecosystem services provided by living animals, and we should encourage the recovery of whale populations by aggressive protection. An increase in their numbers will enable an active sequestration process that will benefit the health of our planet. Greater numbers will also revitalize ecotourism throughout the world. There is nothing more thrilling that observing a living great whale as it surfaces in the presence of human observers. The Long Beach Aquarium in California conducts regular blue whale tours where these magnificent creatures can be seen at close quarters. We should celebrate whales for their inherent value and their ability to inspire. If any creatures on earth may be regarded as our friends and allies, it is the global population of great whales.