Ladies, the Heat is On!

Animals That Go Through Menopause

You’ve got the air-conditioning cranked. You’ve invested in a white noise machine to help you get a little sleep. And your patience is wearing thin in a whole new way these days. There’s nothing fun about going through menopause, but ladies, did you know we’re not the only ones in the animal kingdom that suffer through it?

To be frank, we’re an oddity. Most animals keep on popping out babies until they reach old age. However, many toothed whales work a lot more like humans do where they reproduce for a number of years and then, when those years come to an end, they’ll keep right on trucking.

Let’s take a look at some animals in the wild that go through menopause:

1. Short-finned Pilot Whales

Pilot whale mom and calf | Photo @ Clair EversThese whales can live up to 60 years. That is, if they’re female. Males usually die around the age of 45. Female Short-finned Pilot Whales reach sexual maturity when they turn about 10 years old. Once they reach that age they’ll begin to have their calves every five to eight years until they reach menopause.

2. Belugas

Beluga pod | Photo: Shafik Diwan, CWF Photo Club

Belugas are long-lived creatures. They can live up to 75 years in the wild. That’s a lot of birthday candles to blow out! Females reach sexual maturity between eight and 14 years of age. Once they do, they will go on to have calves (one at a time) about every three years, until they reach menopause.

3. Narwhals

Narwhals

Female Narwhals reach sexual maturity between eight and 12 years of age. After which, they’ll have one calf at a time. They usually give birth to a new calf every three years, although it may even be longer. Eventually, their reproductive years end and they move into menopause, living up to 50 years (although most live less than 30 years).

4. Killer Whales

killer whales | Photo: Kari Watkins, CWF Photo Club

Killer Whales don’t live quite as long as these other whale species. Males will live on average 30 years, while females can expect to live until about 50 years of age. These social marine mammals don’t give birth to their first calf until they are about 15 years old. Once their reproductive years are through, they will take care of their young’s calves. Talk about a tight knit family!

What’s the Point?

So what’s the point of going through menopause and living on into our golden years? To be honest, it’s a bit of a mystery. Some researchers argue that we can thank the grandmother hypothesis. This idea suggests that older females will opt to support their grandbabies instead of going on to bear more of their own children or young.

While this idea works for social creatures like the Killer Whale, not all whale species are as social. And also…wouldn’t species like elephants evolve to have menopause? They’re awfully social and take care of their grandchildren and yet there are no signs that they go through menopause.

There doesn’t seem to be a clear cut answer as to why menopause exists in animals yet. What do you think?

Happy World Wildlife Day!

Canada is home to over 70,000 species. That’s a lot of nature to love – and a lot of wildlife to conserve!

Canada’s history has been inextricably tied to the natural landscapes, vast wilderness and diverse wildlife that define our national and global identity. These are the images most often associated with Canada; they inspire the sense of wonder you feel when immersed in nature. How we connect to nature over the next 150 years will be determined by the efforts we take to conserve the diversity of wildlife today.

As we sit, over 600 species of plants and animals are at risk of being lost from Canada. There isn’t any one culprit, but rather a combination of factors that are leading to species decline. The Canadian Wildlife Federation has regional and national programs that help protect at-risk species across Canada. With the support of thousands of Canadians, we work to conserve wildlife and wild spaces, addressing threats from industrial development, pollution, habitat loss and climate change.

Helping to conserve Canada’s most endangered wildlife

Polar Bear

Polar Bear: Polar Bears live throughout the Arctic, often along the coastlines and throughout the Arctic islands. They prefer to live in areas near sea ice to catch their favourite prey, Ringed Seals. As climate change reduces the total ice cover in the Arctic, Polar Bears are losing critcal areas for hunting, travelling and breeding.

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron (fannini subspecies): Draining of marshes and destruction of other favourite habitat is a serious threat to the Great Blue Heron’s survival in British Columbia. The number of herons breeding in an area is directly related to the amount of feeding habitat available to them.

Leatherback Sea Turtle

Leatherback Sea Turtle: The Leatherback Sea Turtle is classified as Endangered by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. Leatherbacks have experienced a dramatic population decline of more than 60 per cent since 1982. Currently, the total number of nesting females is thought to be less than 35,000 worldwide.

Woodland Caribou

Woodland Caribou (boreal population): The Boreal population of Woodland Caribou, which occurs in the Northwest Territories, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, and Newfoundland and Labrador, has been assessed as Threatened by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) and is listed under the Species at Risk Act.

Beluga Whale

Beluga Whale: A number of factors are thought to contribute to the decline of the population of Belugas that live in the St. Lawrence River. Pollution levels in the river are high. Dredging, shipping, industrial activity and environmental pollution have also resulted in a decline in habitat quality and contamination of food supply.

Sometimes species at risk need a louder voice than any one organization can give, but we’ve been able to accomplish great things with support from people like you.

We have an extraordinary opportunity for your support to have maximum impact — three times the impact in helping our cause. Thanks to longtime CWF supporter Rene Cooper, any donation you make during our Matching Gift campaign will be tripled. Rene’s greatest passion was her love of animals and wildlife. She cared so much about all the creatures that crossed her path. Rene was a passionate advocate for the conservation of wildlife habitats and in honour of her gift and memory, these funds will be put to work for the conservation of Canada’s endangered species and species at risk.

Visit GiveAGiftToWildlife.ca to donate today and triple your impact.

Beluga in Halifax Harbour Now in Safer Waters!

beluga-in-waterAfter an unexpected appearance, the beluga in Halifax Harbour has moved on to safer waters!

You can help belugas and other marine animals by symbolically adopting a beluga whale. All proceeds help fund CWF’s marine conservation efforts along Canada’s coastline, including efforts to help respond to marine animal emergencies.

Adopt yours today! http://shopcwf.ca/products/beluga-whale-adoption

http://www.news957.com/2015/06/02/beluga-whale-appears-to-have-moved-onto-safer-waters/