According to a new Marine Mammal Science study, Blue Whale population off the California coast has reached historic levels. Californian Blue Whale population had dwindled because of Whaling and it is the only instance of a type of Whale which has recovered from the brink of extinction.
Blue whales are the largest animal on the planet and a full grown adult can weigh 190 tons and 100 feet in length.
Lead author Cole Monnahan of the University of Washington, said in a press release, “The recovery of California blue whales from whaling demonstrates the ability of blue whale populations to rebuild under careful management and conservation measures.”
Monnahan and his team estimate that the Californian Blue Whale population could reach 2,200. The numbers are not low and represent 97% of the historical level. The Californian Blue Whales are a misnomer and they have been named thus because of their feeding grounds which is about 30 miles of the Californian coast. The Blue Whales are found in eastern Pacific Ocean and their domain extends from the Equator to the Gulf Of Alaska.
For finding the state of the Blue Whale population, the researchers had to first estimate the historical numbers. Different methods were used to estimate the present population of Blue Whales and this included acoustic data. The researchers also had to estimate the population of Blue Whales off the coast of Russia and Japan. These whales appear to be different from the Californian whales and this includes the calls they make to attract their mates.
Researchers are very happy to find the population of Blue Whales return to their historic levels. However they are worried by the increase number of collisions of the whales with vessels sailing off the US coast. Being one of the busiest shipping routes, the risks of collisions are very high. In the coming days the risks are going to increase because it is predicted that there will be an 11 fold increase in the numbers of ships in the future.
Whaling was made illegal by International Whaling Commission in the year 1966 after it was reported that 346,000 were spearhead in the waters of the Antarctic region. Even in the North Pacific ocean, whales were hunted on a large scale between the year 1905 to 1971 which compelled International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to add the whales to endangered species list.