- The Facts:A new study explains how the humpback whale population has gone from near extinction to numbers that were seen before commercial whaling began.
- Reflect On:Our potential to assist with the restoration of a species on the brink of extinction on our planet is huge. We can can feel encouraged that one day, human greed and ego, combined with political/elitist agendas, will no longer rule the day.
A new study from the University of Washington’s School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences has revealed that the humpback whale population (also known as Megaptera novaeangliae) is growing, and has rebounded from near extinction numbers to approximately 25,000. The researchers believe that these numbers are close to pre-whaling numbers. The study was co-authored by Grant Adams, John Best and André Punt.
The study, published last month in the journal Royal Society Open Science, is one that argues against an assessment that was conducted between 2006 and 2015 by the International Whaling Commission which claimed that the population of humpback whales had only recovered approximately 30 percent of its pre-exploitation population. That being said, since that assessment was conducted, new data has come forth that, according to this study, provides more accurate information on life-history, catches and genetics.
It’s great to see positive change on the planet in the midst of several issues and the constant bombardment of ‘negativity.’ Whaling once represented one of the world’s most destructive forms of exploitation of natural resources. As the study points out,
…many species were hunted for centuries and/or across vast geographical areas and, as a consequence, were nearly extirpated. Protection was afforded at different times during the twentieth century (e.g. right whales, Eubalaena spp., were protected in 1935 and humpback, Megaptera novaeangliae, and blue whales, Balaenoptera musculus, in the mid-1960s). However, removals thereafter by illegal whaling brought several populations to dangerously low levels until the moratorium on all commercial whaling was implemented by the International Whaling Commission (IWC) for its member states in the mid-1980s.