More Humpback Whales in the North Pacific Than Previously Thought


Photo: natalielucier

Scientists have recently come to the conclusion based on one of the largest ever studies on humpback whale populations that the population in the North Pacific is actually higher than previously thought. Scientists believe that numbers are actually upwards of 21,000 rather than 20,000. While many other whale populations are sagging at alarming rates, this shows that populations can rebound after coming dangerously close to extinction, according to an article in Live Science.
Humpback whale populations have rebounded from around 1,400 when whaling was banned in the North Pacific in 1966, to upwards of 21,000 over 40 years later.

Live Science reports:

The number of North Pacific humpback whales in the 2008 study known as the Structure of Populations, Levels of Abundance and Status of Humpbacks, or SPLASH, was estimated at just under 20,000 based on the initial look at the data. But the new research puts the number at over 21,000 and possibly even higher.

It shows that whale populations could do the same across the board if whaling were banned worldwide so that individual species had an opportunity to bounce back.

Again, Live Science:

"While populations of some other whale species remain very low this shows that humpback whales are among those that have recovered strongly from whaling," said John Calambokidis, senior research biologist and co-founder of Cascadia Research, a non-profit organization based in Washington and focused on marine mammal studies.

But unfortunately, whaling still persists in certain parts of the world. I wrote that For a Price, Tourists in Iceland Follow Whalers Harpooning Whales. Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS) reports that today it's the tourists in Iceland that are consuming much of the whale meat. In fact, 35 to 40 percent of minke whale meat is eaten by tourists. So while in the North Pacific wonderful progress has been made, there's still work to get everyone else onboard.

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More on Humpback Whales
Hero Conservationists Rescue Humpback Whale from Certain Death (Amazing Video!)
Humpback Whales Go On a People-Watching Tour
Humpback Whale's Journey Breaks Distance Record

Tags: Animals | Endangered Species | Oceans | Whales

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