Humpback whales in the South Atlantic have recovered from near-extinction

Humpback whales in the South Atlantic have recovered from near ...

Once hunted nearly to extinction, the humpback whales population that swims the seas between South America and Antarctica has bounced back.

An estimated 25,000 Humpback whales now live in the western South Atlantic. That’s almost 93 % of the population’s prehunt levels, which also were simplified by a new counting method, scientists report October 16 in Royal Society Open Science.

“It is good news,” says María Vázquez, a biologist at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, who was not involved in the valuation. She’s been reviewing a threatened population of humpbacks off the west coast of Mexico and has detected its progress, too. “We see it year after year, there are more animals, younger, more offspring,” she added.

This might be part of a global drift for humpbacks. 14 of the known populations — seven in the Southern Hemisphere and seven in the Northern— 10 have shown symbols of recovery, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The remaining four are not recovering and are considered to be endangered.

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