Feds Consider Taking Humpback Whale Off Endangered Species List
The US government is considering taking the humpback whale off the endangered species list in response to data showing the population of the massive marine mammal has been steadily growing in recent decades.
Humpback whales were nearly hunted to extinction up into the middle of the 20th century. But the species has been growing steadily since an international ban on their commercial whaling was placed in 1966. The National Marine Fisheries Service, a NOAA agency, received results last year from an extensive study showing that the north Pacific humpback population has been growing 4-7% a year in recent decades.
There are an estimated 18,000-20,000 humpbacks in the north Pacific, up from just 1,400 in the mid-1960s. A survey in the early 1990s of humpbacks in the north Atlantic showed the population at 10,600. The global humpback population is estimated to be about 60,000 now.