The South Arctic Thick-beaked Ass Whale has been registered as endangered since 1961, but is now safe from extinction, according to the UN Whale Counting Board. The Thick-beaked Ass Whale is peculiar for its hideous appearance and for being the only whale which is universally detested.
In Moby Dick, Captain Ahab comes across a pod of Thick-beaked Ass Whales and utters the infamous line, "Let's just sail the other way and pretend we haven't seen them."
The Thick-beaked Ass Whale has two unusual antennae like an ass's ears (hence the name), stumpy fins, giant warts all over its body, unbelievably bad breath and a square tail. During the centuries of whaling in the Arctic, sailors considered themselves unlucky if they caught one. It is the only whale whose blubber is too watery to be useful for making oil, and its flesh is not good to eat. It is said to have the texture and taste of a rubber tyre dipped in vomit.
In the 1980s when many albums of whalesong were released, producer Geoff Hippy managed to record the sound of a Thick-beaked Ass Whale in the wild. It did not make for pleasant listening. He explained, “It sounded like a rat being tortured on a rack. The high pitched screeching made me want to rip my own ears off - even more than most whale singing does. I knew it was pointless putting it to music."
It is believed that the Thick-beaked Ass Whale was never endangered at all, but that UN whale counters simply didn't want to bother counting the reviled creature. Its endangered status was assumed because other similar whales were endangered. Even Greenpeace never bothered to campaign to save it.
The latest survey is believed to be accurate as it was carried out by a counting robot. The UN Whale Counting Board decided a robot would not be swayed by public opinion of the cetacean. However, once the robot finished its count, it shut itself off and nobody has been able to revive it.
The Thick-beaked Ass Whale appears to be thriving now, which may be due to its unfussy eating habits. Unlike most whales, it is able to digest plastic, and has been spotted feasting on the islands of human garbage which gather in the world's oceans.
Sadly, we may have to tolerate the Thick-beaked Ass Whale for many years to come.