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Great Whales

Bowhead whale

The bowhead is a single species - closely related to the right whale - and is remarkable for being the only baleen whale to spend all its time in Arctic waters. The bowhead's huge, bony skull allows it to break through the sea-ice.

There are thought to be more than 17,000 in existence. The bowhead is a target for indigenous hunters in Alaska, Chukotka and Greenland who are allowed to catch no more than 69 individuals a year under IWC rules.

Status: Least concern


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