California blue whales, once nearly extinct, back at historical levels

Blue Whales are seen in this undated handout photoCalifornia blue whales, the largest animals on Earth once driven to near extinction by whaling, have made a remarkable comeback to near historic, 19th-century levels, according to a University of Washington study released on Friday. The recovery makes California blue whales – which study authors say now number about 2,200, or 97 percent of historical levels – the only population of blue whales known to have recovered from whaling. "The recovery of California blue whales from whaling demonstrates the ability of blue whale populations to rebuild under careful management and conservation measures," said Cole Monnahan, a University of Washington doctoral student and lead author of the study. Despite the comeback, the whales – which as adults can reach nearly 100 feet (30 meters) in length and weigh 190 tons (172 tonnes), twice as much as the largest known dinosaur – are still being struck by ships off the California coast at numbers above allowable U.S.

September 5, 2014 7:42 pm

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