Humpback whales may be found on all of the world’s seas. With baleen-filled mouths, they move large distances, picking up plankton and krill. Whalers sought the majestic creatures, who were known for their elegance. Commercial whaling destroyed their populations from the 19th century through the mid-20th century. There were as few as 700 of the critters swimming in the North Atlantic at one point. Whaling bans in the 1980s, as well as a broader conservation movement, have allowed humpback numbers to rebound in recent decades. Finally, the humpback whale has been removed from Australia’s endangered species list, marking a watershed moment for the animal.
- Every year, almost 40,000 humpback whales travel across Australian seas.
- Other whale species, including humpback populations in other parts of the world, have not made the same comeback.
- The breeding habits of humpback whales are said to be ‘ideally adapted’ to Australia’s lengthy coastline.
Megaptera novaeangliae, or humpback whale, is a stunningly gorgeous species. The adults, which weigh over 40 tons, like thrusting themselves out of the water in dramatic breaches. They sing to each other underwater, especially during mating season. To find their spouses, these gentle giants travel almost 3,500 kilometers.
The Australian Threatened Species Scientific Committee looked into the population to see if it had recovered after years on the country’s endangered species list. Sussan Ley, the Environment Minister, delisted the species based on the favorable findings. She explained that most of her judgments involve adding species to the list, so eliminating one was a welcome change. “It’s incredibly heartening to see a compelling conservation tale result in a species being removed off the endangered species list,” she added.
Despite the fact that the species has been removed from the endangered species list in Australia, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act still protects them in Australian waters. Despite this protection, some environmentalists believe that removing the species from the endangered species list is too ambitious. The humpback whale still faces man-made and environmental threats, and the endangered species is still deemed depleted in some areas. While saving the whales remains a priority, any good news is welcome.
Humpback whales have recovered and have been removed from Australia’s endangered species list.
‘Ancient, intelligent species’
The recovery of the humpback population was gradual between the 1960s and the early 1990s, according to Dr. Franklin.
“The whale population barely increased by roughly 1,000,” he claimed.
“However, the population has expanded practically to the limit of what we perceive to be the biological growth rate between 1990 and today.”
Dr. Franklin described the prospect of the return of this “intelligent, old species” as “exhilarating,” given how close it came to extinction.
“Humpback whales evolved into their current form 23 million years ago,” he continued, “therefore they are old creatures with an ancient society based on singing.”
“They’ve made it.”