California Blue Whales Bounce Back from Extinction
I love hearing stories of animals being saved from the brink of extinction. The front page headlines always share a lot of bad news, so I enjoy seeing something positive spring forth. California blue whales are the largest animals we have on earth, and in 1966, were placed on the endangered species list. The last century saw them almost hunted to extinction until scientists stepped forth and took action. A ban was placed on hunting and the whales monitored. As a result, scientists estimate that the population of California blue whales has risen to around 2200. Almost as high as what was recorded in the early 1900s.
The California blue whale isn't entirely out of the woods yet, though. Scientists aren't sure how climate change will affect the species. Another concern is losing them to ship strikes. California blue whales are often killed by ships as they are entering ports. To combat this authorities in California have now started a program that will pay merchant ships to slow down. While it isn't always possible to avoid having whales killed by ship strikes, they've seen a decrease of 11% deaths by ship strike since starting the program. Its nice to see conservation efforts pay off!
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons : CC-BY-2.0
Image Credit » California Blue Whales