Researchers monitor these whales from above, but protecting them will be its own challenge.

According to popular belief, right whales got their name because they were considered the "right" whales to hunt.

They were preferable for hunters because they swim near shore and float when killed. That sort of mindset drove their numbers so low that southern right whales are still recovering, even though we banned whaling of the species in 1937.

About 12,000 remain of one species, the southern right whale, according to one estimate.

You might imagine this would sound an alarm to keep them protected. Unfortunately, a new danger is at hand.


Their prime breeding ground in the Great Australian Bight (off the southern coast) is threatened by the fossil fuel industry.

Good job picking a beautiful habitat, you southern right whales. Gorgeous image via Green Collar Productions.

There are right whales in other parts of the world, but this species is limited to the Southern Ocean.

That's because southern right whales are basically wearing sweaters full time. Get this: The thick layers of blubber needed to survive swimming in the cold waters around Antarctica mean they probably can't swim through tropical ocean zones.

These whales especially need their current nursery in the Great Australian Bight, since they don't have any options otherwise.

The British petrol giant BP is trying to drill for oil in the area used by the whales.

This is the oil company that brought you the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the United States. If you feel a little nervous about the future of these whales, you have a good reason: BP plans to turn the whales' nursery into an oil field.

These waters are too important to endangered whales to risk an oil spill.

Claire Charlton, a southern right whale researcher and marine biology Ph.D. student, explains the situation in the video below and gives us some extraordinary views of these threatened animals.

The nonprofit Wilderness Society is helping get the word out. This special place is at risk of being the next Deepwater Horizon.

To learn more about the nursery of southern right whales, check this page out. Here's a place to donate.

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Rice University

A plaque marking the death of a glacier comes with a haunting message to future generations.

The former Okjökull glacier in western Iceland is the first to lose its status as a glacier due to climate change. Known now as simply "Ok," the once sprawling ice sheet has melted to about seven percent of what it was a century ago and was declared no longer a glacier in 2014.

Scientists predict that in the next 200 years, if the climate crisis is not mitigated, the rest of Iceland's 400 glaciers will meet the same fate.

Next month, the land that Ok once covered will be marked with a memorial plaque. Researchers from Rice University in Houston, Texas, Icelandic author Andri Snær Magnason, and geologist Oddur Sigurðsson—who first declared the glacier's lost status—will unveil the plaque in a public ceremony on August 18.

The plaque's text begins, "A letter to the future," then reads:

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Photo by Raul Varzar on Unsplash

A quarter of domestic cats have had their claws removed. Even though it might make the owners lives a little easier, the procedure can be incredibly painful for the animals and has been described as "barbaric."

Most of Europe and Canada have banned cat declawing (onychectomy), as well as several U.S. cities, but New York just became the first state to do so. Now, any vet who declaws a cat in the there will face a fine of $1,000, unless the procedure is medically necessary.

"Declawing is a cruel and painful procedure that can create physical and behavioral problems for helpless animals, and today it stops," New York GovernorAndrew Cuomo saidin a statement, per USA Today.

Some people get their cat declawed to stop their furniture and flesh from being destroyed. However, declawing a cat isn't the best way to stop a cat from scratching. In fact, it's probably the worst. "If a person has an issue with a cat scratching, well, first of all, I'd advise them don't get a cat because that is the very nature of a cat. But, secondly, there are ways to change cats' behavior. Get scratching posts. There are vinyl sheathes that could be placed on the nails," Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal said. Rosenthal sponsored the bill and is a cat owner, herself. "[T]here's many ways to address that behavior." None of the ways you address the problem should include taking it's claws off.

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Cities
Alie Ward

Your dinner plate shouldn't shame you for eating off of it. But that's exactly what a set being sold at Macy's did.

The retailer has since removed the dinnerware from their concept shop, Story, after facing social media backlash for the "toxic message" they were sending.

The plates, made by Pourtions, have circles on them to indicate what a proper portion should look like, along with "helpful — and hilarious — visual cues" to keep people from "overindulging."

There are serval different styles, with one version labeling the largest portion as "mom jeans," the medium portion as "favorite jeans," and the smallest portion as "skinny jeans."

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Well Being

In today's installment of the perils of being a woman, a 21-year-old woman shared her experience being "slut-shamed" by her nurse practitioner during a visit to urgent care for an STD check.

The woman recently had sex with someone she had only just met, and it was her first time hooking up with someone she had not "developed deep connections with."

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