Researchers have found that sperm whale waste stimulates carbon removal, explains Jennifer Viegas. "These ocean giants and certain other marine mammals may therefore be among the most environmentally beneficial animals on the planet." "It is sometimes thought that conservationists try to 'save the whales' only because they are cute, however my work and the research of others is increasingly showing that whales play a crucial role in marine ecosystems," she says. "We must protect whales in order to have healthy, well-functioning marine ecosystems."