Humpbacks up, other whales down

This video is called Irrawaddy dolphins in Sarawak, Malaysia.

From British daily The Guardian:

Conservation: Humpback whales make a comeback

* Ian Sample, science correspondent

Tuesday August 12 2008

Humpback whales are making a comeback more than 40 years after a ban on commercial hunting was brought in to save them from extinction.

Marine biologists estimate that the number of humpbacks worldwide may have grown to more than 40,000 adults and about 15,000 juveniles, following the ban that began in the 1960s. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has revised its classification of the whales as “vulnerable” to “of least concern” on its latest annual list of endangered animals.

The southern right whale population has also begun to recover – the number of these is believed to have doubled from 7,500 in 1997.

Randall Reeves of the IUCN said: “This is a great conservation success and shows what needs to be done to ensure these ocean giants survive.”

The success of these two species, however, contrasts with a worsening trend for other cetaceans, including whales, dolphins, sharks and porpoises, of which 10% are classified as endangered or critically endangered. Furthermore, the picture is unclear for more than half of the world’s 44 cetacean species, because too little is known about their populations.

Smaller coastal and fresh water species, including the vaquita porpoise, finless porpoise, South American river dolphin and Irrawaddy dolphin, are increasingly at risk of extinction.

See also here.

Mediterranean Whale survey indicates declining numbers: here.

Whale songs are heard for the first time around New York City waters: here. And here.

Adelaide dolphins learn to ‘Tailwalk’: here.

1 thought on “Humpbacks up, other whales down

  1. Researchers find whales’ nursery

    By Narelle Towie

    August 12, 2008 12:25am

    HUNDREDS of baby whales have been discovered in a bay in the Kimberley, making it one of the world’s biggest humpback whale nursery grounds.
    WA scientists say the natural maternity ward, 160km north of Derby, is being used by humpback whales to teach their calves important marine lessons.

    Uncovered in Camden South, one of the Kimberley’s largest bays, 381 pods were found schooling their calves to feed, ride the tides and breach.

    WA Marine Science Institution (WAMSI) chief executive Dr Steve Blake said the movement of pregnant whales, whales with young calves and bulls into the region was astounding.

    “It is a natural maternity ward, the place where mothers teach their calves how to feed and how to utilise the tides and currents.”

    “It was like taking a three-year-old to a children’s playground,” he said.

    The whale nursery ground is surrounded by reef that stretches from the Northern Territory to the south of Broome and researchers say they may have unearthed a coral reef zone of global significance.

    “We believe it surpasses the number found in the Caribbean’s Silver Banks region, which is usually listed as one of the world’s main humpback whale nursery grounds.

    “We are now right in the middle of the whale season in the Kimberley.”

    The whales were discovered as part of an unfunded study by Dr Blake, a team of scientists from Kimberley Whales and two Indigenous representatives.

    On the last day of the study, 51 whales passed the scientist’s observation site in two and half hours, which equates to more than 20 whales passing each hour.

    “This is a conservative figure but it puts Camden Sound right up there in terms of the world’s winter residences for humpback whales,” he said.

    Dr Blake said a highlight of the trip was seeing whales practising breaching by jumping out of the water every 30 seconds for five minutes while their mother watched on.,23599,24166479-421,00.html


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