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Bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus) belong to the family Balaenidae and are the only living species of whale within the genus Balaena They are an exceptionally large species of whale, reaching lengths of up to 59 feet (18 meters) and weights of up to 100 tons (90 metric tons). They are characterized by their bow-shaped head and narrow upper jaw, which gives them their unique name. Bowhead whales are believed to be among the longest-lived mammals alive today, with some individuals estimated to reach ages of over 200 years. Bowhead whales are important for a variety of reasons. Here are five of the most notable: 1. Food Security: Bowhead whales provide an important source of food for many Indigenous groups in northern communities. They are hunted for their meat, oil, and other parts, and can provide a much-needed source of sustenance in areas where food resources are scarce. 2. Climate Change Resistance: Bowhead whales are strong swimmers and can tolerate colder temperatures and ice, meaning they have the ability to resist the impacts of climate change more easily than other species. 3. Carbon Sequestration: Bowhead whales are believed to actively sequester more carbon from the atmosphere and store it in their bodies in the form of fat than any other species of whale. This makes them an important part of the planet’s carbon cycle. 4. Biological and Ecological Diversity: Bowhead whales are essential to maintaining a healthy marine ecosystem. They keep populations of prey species healthy and their presence can help ensure a balanced ocean environment. 5. Tourism: Bowhead whales are a popular attraction for divers and whale watchers, providing a source of income for many communities. Whale watching can help support the local economy while providing an opportunity to observe these majestic animals in their natural habitat. Overall, bowhead whales are incredibly important animals, both to the planet and to the communities that rely on them for food and economic opportunities. The knowledge we have gained from studying them can help ensure their future as a species and their protection in the face of climate change.