ScienceDaily (Aug. 26, 2011) — Preserving just 4 percent of the ocean could protect crucial habitat for the vast majority of marine mammal species, from sea otters to blue whales, according to researchers at Stanford University and the National Autonomous University of Mexico.
Of the 129 species of marine mammals on Earth, including seals, dolphins and polar bears, approximately one-quarter are facing extinction, the study said.
“It’s important to protect marine mammals if you want to keep the ocean’s ecosystems functional,” said study co-author Paul Ehrlich, professor of biology and senior fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford. “Many of them are top predators and have impacts all the way through the ecosystem. And they’re also beautiful and interesting.”
This Northern Elephant Seal isn’t endangered, but his habitat needs protection to keep him and his cohorts in a healthy ecosystem.