The great whales, the thirteen largest species, are currently protected by the International Whaling Committee's temporary ban on commercial whaling, that's hunting whales to make money.
However this ban is only temporary and a recent vote in June 2006 suggested more countries are considering a return to whaling.
They are also listed in the world conservation union's red list of threatened species and the USA lists nine species of whales as endangered.
The great whales are:
- Northern Minke
- Antarctic Minke
- Southern Right
- North Atlantic Right
- North Pacific Right