Here is a piece of good news for the environmentalists and animal lovers. The population of blue whales in the waters off California that have been hunted unabatedly for over a century to near extinction are now recovering back.
According to the researchers at the University of Washington, the largest mammals have not only rebounded from the brink of demise but have resumed their population to the historic levels.
The researchers followed in-depth study and adopted unique measurement technique to understand the trend of blue whales in California and its nearby coast and they found their numbers increasing significantly. The researchers also found that the incidences of ship hitting, leading to the deaths of blue whales, have also risen above the allowable limits of US, but the vehicle collisions are not immediately threatening the recovery process of the giant mammals.
At least 11 California blue whales were struck a year along the US West Coast. The US Marine Mammal Protection Act allows “potential biological removal” of only 3.1 whales per year.
The California blue whales or eastern North Pacific blue whales are the only population of blue whales known to have made a recovery from the ravages of whaling after facing the extinction, the research group said in a university news release.
“The recovery of California blue whales from whaling demonstrates the ability of blue whale populations to rebuild under careful management and conservation measures,” Cole Monnahan, lead study author and a UW doctoral student in quantitative ecology and resource management, said in the release.
The current population of the California blue whales has been estimated at about 2,200.
Calling the remarkable recovery as “a conservation success story”, Monnahan said, “California blue whales are recovering because we took timely and corrective actions to stop catches and start monitoring. If we hadn’t, the population might have been pushed to near extinction – an unfortunate fate suffered by other blue whale populations.”
Mannohan also stressed that the study findings do not meant at depriving the California blue whales of protections that they require to remain safe.
The findings of the study were published in the scientific journal Marine Mammal Science.